UK Sponsorship Licences & Visa Sponsorship

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If you are a company registered in the UK and you are looking to employ someone from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA). It is likely that you will need to sponsor your prospective employees. This will be necessary in order for them to legally enter the UK to work, even if the work they are set to carry out is unpaid (for example, charity and volunteer work), this is usually done by means of visa sponsorship.

At IAS, we have a wealth of experience in assisting applications for a Sponsorship Licence and are perfectly positioned to help you through the process of becoming a sponsor.

You will also need a Sponsor Licence to bring workers from an overseas branch over to a UK-based office on a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer Visa.

When your Sponsorship Licence has been approved, your business will be added to the Home Office’s register of sponsors (also commonly referred to as the Tier 2 Sponsor List), which will enable you to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to your existing and prospective employees. This comes in the form of a unique reference number that is then used to sponsor a visa application. You will need to apply for a Sponsor Licence renewal after four years.

With an estimated one-in-six visa applications now being refused by the Home Office, the difference between a successful and unsuccessful application for a Sponsorship Licence could lie with us.

With a high success rate of assisted applications, our immigration lawyers can draw upon years of experience to help make your application a successful one. Get in touch with one of our experts today for further information. We will assess whether the employees you are bringing in need to be sponsored and the process which you need to undertake to hire them.

We also offer services that identify and resolve any issues or gaps in your company’s current sponsorship processes. Contact us now on 0333 363 8577 or use our online contact form to speak with a business immigration consultant.


What are my sponsorship duties under the Points-Based System?

There are a number of things you will need to consider when looking to sponsor employees to come into the UK, as there are certain responsibilities you, as an employer, take on such as:

  • Obtaining a Sponsor Licence before employing any skilled workers on Tier 2 and Tier 5 Visas
  • Issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship to every prospective or existing Tier 2 migrant worker to enable them to apply for a new visa, or extend their current stay in the UK
  • Using the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) to keep relevant records and reports in relation to your workers, including their compliance with their immigration conditions, and reporting any breaches that may arise
  • Undertaking the Resident Labour Market Test before offering the job to overseas workers

For more on Tier 2 sponsorship duties.

What kinds of visa sponsorship will I need to do?

If you are looking to employ skilled workers from outside the EEA or Switzerland in either a permanent, long-term or temporary job, Tiers 2 & 5 will apply.

You do not need to sponsor a highly skilled migrant worker already coming to or in the UK under Tier 1.

It is important to note that Tier 3 of the points-based system is currently suspended so you can no longer employ low-skilled migrant workers.

What are my sponsorship options as an educational provider?

If you are an education provider in the UK you can sponsor a foreign student to undertake a long course of study by obtaining a Sponsor Licence. You do not need to sponsor a student on a short course of study as they can come to the UK as a student or child visitor

More information on Tier 4 sponsor guidance.

How can I sponsor a visa once I have been granted my Sponsorship Licence?

Once you have successfully applied for your licence you will be added to the Published Register of Sponsors held by the Home Office and you can issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to any prospective employees. This is not a physical document but a unique reference number recording details of the employee and the position they hold which will allow them to make their Tier 2 application.

You will also need to maintain your duties as a Tier 2 Sponsor or you could face a Sponsor Licence suspension.

What will happen if I employ migrant workers without a Sponsorship Licence?

If you do not hold a Sponsorship Licence, or go through the process of sponsoring a UK visa, and you employ any migrant workers from outside of the EEA and Switzerland, you are in breach of immigration laws – and risk financial and judicial penalties and other negative consequences.

Hiring workers illegally can lead to:

  • Having your Sponsor Licence suspended
  • Having your Sponsor Licence revoked
  • A Civil Penalty from the Home Office: this comes in the form of a large fine and direct warning from Immigration Officers;
  • The loss of employees, who may be deported if discovered by Immigration Control;
  • The loss of reputation or credibility as a business; and
  • Court sanctions and possible imprisonment.

How can IAS help?

Sponsor Licensing can be a very complex process. Here at IAS, we have a team of highly-qualified and experienced immigration specialists, who are fully-equipped to assist you with all applications for sponsor licensing, sponsor registration and Tier 2 and Tier 5 Visas.

With an estimated one-in-six visa applications now being refused by the Home Office, the difference between a successful and unsuccessful application for a Sponsorship Licence could lie with us.

Our services include:

  • taking detailed instructions from you about your circumstances;
  • providing you with tailored advice on the various options open to you;
  • collating the required documentation required to support your application;
  • professionally completing all the required application forms;
  • helping you use the Sponsor Management System
  • producing a Letter of Representation to accompany your Sponsorship Licence application;
  • assisting you with the RLMT if required and identify the correct SOC code and salary;
  • ensuring all recruitment processes are followed.

Call 0333 363 8577 or make an enquiry online to speak with one of our immigration specialists, who can assist you with your Sponsor Licence application.


Our Sponsorship Licence Packages

Sponsor Licence Advice Package

Comprehensive Sponsor Licence advice tailored to your company’s requirements with written confirmation


Sponsor Licence Application Package

Designed to make your Sponsor Licence application as successful, smooth and stress-free as possible


Fast Track Package

Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline


Appeal Package

Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any hearings/tribunals


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