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How much is a sponsor licence in the UK?

A UK-based employer who has intentions of recruiting workers from overseas must have a valid sponsor licence to issue certificates of sponsorship to their prospective employees.

For more information on how IAS can help with your sponsor licence query, call our friendly team of advisors today on 0333 305 9375.

Sponsor licence cost

Getting a sponsor licence is a necessary step for any UK-based business looking to hire migrant workers on the skilled worker route. In order to employ an overseas worker, the employer must issue the skilled worker with a certificate of sponsorship– the employer must have a sponsor licence from the Home Office to do so.

The cost of getting a sponsor licence application fee is dependent on the scale and type of business. When applying, you must also take into account the type of licence the business requires.

Deciphering the type of licence you need for a UK business can seem daunting, so seeking advice from a trained immigration lawyer can help greatly. Immigration Advice Service are experts in sponsor licence and visa queries and are ready and waiting to help. Call our friendly team of advisors today on 0333 305 9375.

two people in suits shaking hands

Small sponsor

It is essential to figure out the scale of your business before you proceed to apply for a sponsor licence. There are a few guidelines set out by the Home office, which you can check to determine your size. Typically, you will be deemed as a small company if any 2 of the following apply to you:

  • Your annual turnover is £10.2 million or less
  • In total, your assets are worth £5.1 million or less
  • You have no more than 50 employees in the entire company

If you fit the band as a small company, you can expect to pay a sponsor licence application fee of £536 in total. This fee will apply to any type of sponsor licence you apply for, whether it be a worker licence or a temporary worker licence.

If you are wishing to add a temporary worker to an existing worker licence or vice versa, there is no fee involved in doing so for those who have submitted previous, successful sponsor licence applications.

Charitable sponsor

If you are an organisation of charitable status looking to issue a certificate of sponsorship, you must still acquire a sponsor licence from the Home Office. Sponsor licence costs will still apply to non-profit organisations.

You may be classed as a charitable sponsor if any of the following apply to the company:

  • You’re a registered charity in England or Wales
  • You’re a registered charity in Scotland
  • You’re a registered charity in Northern Ireland
  • You’re an excepted charity
  • You’re an exempt charity
  • You’re an ecclesiastical corporation established for charitable purposes

The same sponsor licence application fee of £536 applies to charitable sponsors.

You can upgrade an existing temporary worker licence to a worker licence free of charge.

Do you need help applying for a Skilled Worker Visa? Our lawyers can assist you.

Medium or large sponsors

To be classed as medium or large sponsors, a business must be turning over more than £1o.2 million annually and have assets worth more than £5.1 million.

When a business grows in scale, applicants can expect to pay a higher sponsor licence fee to the Home Office, to accommodate the needs of a skilled worker visa applicant.

To apply for worker sponsor licence as a medium or large sponsor, the sponsor licence fee required is £1,476 in total.

For those wishing to apply for a temporary worker sponsor licence, the cost is £536. For both a worker and temporary worker licence combined, the fee is the same as that of a full licence (£1,476).

Immigration skills charge

In addition to paying the application fee for a sponsor licence, you may also have to pay the immigration skills charge when sponsoring foreign workers with a Skilled Worker or Senior or Specialist Worker visa.

Sponsors will have to pay the immigration skills charge if workers are applying for a visa from outside the UK to work in the UK for 6 months or more, or inside the UK for any length of time.

You may not have to pay if any of the following apply:

  • You’re sponsoring a worker who’s working as one of the exempt occupation codes
  • You’re sponsoring a worker who was assigned a certificate before 6 April 2017
  • You’re sponsoring a worker switching from a Student visa
  • You’re sponsoring someone on the Global Business Mobility Senior or Specialist Worker route and they meet all the eligibility criteria

For small or charitable sponsors, the charge is £364 for the first 12 months and £182 for each additional 6 months.

For medium or large sponsors, the charge is £1,000 for the first 12 months and £500 for each additional 6 months.

How to apply

There are a few steps to follow when it comes to applying for a sponsor licence. It is important to follow the steps carefully to minimise the chance of making a mistake on the application. This can severely delay your application and hinder any plans to onboard a potential skilled worker visa applicant.

The following steps should be considered when applying for a sponsor licence:

  • Check your business is eligible for a Sponsor licence
  • Check if the job you have available is suitable for sponsorship of a skilled worker overseas
  • Decide which type of licence is suited to your needs- this will depend on the type of worker you wish to hire
  • Decide who will manage sponsorship on behalf of your business- putting a plan in place shows the Home Office your intentions to sponsor a skilled worker visa applicant are genuine
  • Fill out the online application form and pay the correct application fees

If you are successful, your business will receive a licence rating. You can then issue certificates of sponsorship to any skilled worker visa holders who wish to work in the UK under your company.

How long does it take to get a decision on a sponsor licence application?

Once you have submitted your application for a sponsor licence and paid the application fee, you can expect to receive a decision within eight weeks of the date you applied. However, during times when there may be an influx of sponsor licence applications at the Home Office, it may be necessary to wait longer.

During this time, officials from the Home Office may need to visit your business to assess your application and intentions of getting a sponsor licence.

If you wish to get a faster decision on your sponsor licence, you may be able to opt for a priority service which will accommodate a faster decision on your behalf. However, this service will come at an additional cost of £500, which will allow for a decision to be made within ten working days.

Making sure that you’ve adhered to all of the Home Office Guidelines when applying for a sponsor licence is crucial. IAS’ immigration lawyers can help guide you through the process and help you get your application right first time. Call us on 0333 305 9375 for more information, or contact us online.

closeup of text on a visa document

Why does a business need a sponsor licence?

A UK sponsor licence is a legal requirement from the Home Office for any British business who are looking to recruit skilled workers from overseas. The approved licence will allow the organisation to issue a certificate of sponsorship to the foreign worker which will in turn support their visa application. The certificate of sponsorship must be issued before the migrant worker applies, in order for their visa application to be assessed by the Home Office.

It is important to note, however, that the certificate of sponsorship does not mean that the visa application will be approved. Sponsor licences simply inform the Home Office of the migrant worker’s intentions of working in the UK, their job role and job description.

Visa application fees will apply to the applicant and must be paid along with the specified immigration health surcharge; details of how much needs to be paid can be found on the government website. This is not something that the sponsor licence holder must pay for the worker.

How can IAS help?

Sponsor licences are a key step for any business wishing to hire foreign workers.

If you’re a business or organisation looking to sponsor foreign workers to come to the UK, IAS can help.

IAS have a team of highly trained immigration lawyers and caseworkers who can assist you with your skilled worker visa or sponsor licence application queries. We are dedicated to helping you with your matter, for a stress-free application process, and have all the necessary tools and knowledge to help you achieve your business goals and submit a successful sponsor licence application.

Whether you need advice on how to take the first step to becoming a sponsor, assistance with the application process, or clarification on the eligibility requirements and restrictions associated with sponsorship, we can help.

For more information on how the Immigration Advice service can help you with your sponsor licence or skilled worker visa, get in touch with our friendly team of advisors today on 0333 305 9375, or, fill out our dedicated contact form and we will get back to you.

We can help you if you need help with your Skilled Worker Visa application.

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