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What Documents Will I Need to Apply for a Sponsor Licence?

You can earn an A-list sponsor licence rating and become a part of the UK’s most trusted organisations by submitting the right documents to the Home Office for your sponsor licence application.

Our team of expert immigration lawyers have the in-depth understanding to provide the specific sponsor licence guidance that suits your situation. Call us on 0330 311 6351 or contact us online right away!

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    What Is a Sponsor Licence?

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    Eligibility Requirements for a Sponsor Licence

    Only organisations can obtain a valid sponsor licence in the UK. Private individuals cannot obtain the licence except if they operate a sole-proprietorship. To meet the suitability criteria for a licence application, your business or organisation must be legally operational in the UK.

    UK employers operating virtually may also apply for a sponsor licence, but they must be able to verify their ability to perform their sponsor duties and obligations. By applying for a sponsor licence as a UK employer, you are accepting all sponsor licence holder responsibilities towards the intending visa applicant.

    One skilled worker sponsor licence may cover all your UK entities if you run many branches but your situation may require obtaining a sponsor licence for each branch of your business.

    In some cases, the sponsor licence requirement includes registering with or getting approval from a regulatory body to legally operate in the UK. You will need to provide proof of compliance to proceed with your licence application.

    Fortunately, the Resident Labour Market Test now makes it possible to apply for a licence before having a candidate or job title in mind. UKVI is willing to consider any UK employer who meets the eligibility and suitability criteria.

    Sponsor licence applicants who are interested in the pre-licence priority service must first complete the UKVI registration which will grant them access to the log-in page to complete the online sponsor licence application form. This opportunity is not available for sponsor licence applications that have been assigned to caseworkers.

    The Home Office may conduct pre-licence visits if they have any reasons to be concerned about the evidence you provide or know little about you. Among other things, they must be able to confirm that you are offering genuine employment. The visit may be conducted with your authorising officer if you operate a virtual model or have little physical presence.

    Sponsor Licence Documentation Requirements

    Appendix A by the Home Office is the sponsor guidance on the mandatory documents for all sponsor licence application process including UK expansion worker route. In most instances, you are required to provide a minimum of 4 documents or a combination of 4 documents where stated.

    The specific document you will submit depends on the entity you are representing which may be a start-up, SME, franchise or a public body. Exceptions to these requirements exist for companies that are listed on the London Stock Exchange major market and any public body already recognised by the UK government in the corporate report.

    Documents for Specific Bodies and Organisations

    Type of OrganisationDocuments Required
    Public bodies not recognised by the U.K. government
    • Documentary evidence from your sponsoring government department or
    • A covering email or letter giving the name of your sponsoring department
    • Any required mandatory document

    Documents for Start-Ups, Franchises, Charities and Organisations

    Type of OrganisationDocuments Required

    • Application date of 18 months or below
    • Application not done under the Global Business Mobility (U.K. Expansion Worker) route
    • A current corporate account with an authorised bank
    • A certificate of VAT registration
    • A letter detailing your dealings from your corporate banking provider
    • Any required mandatory document
    Businesses requiring a statutory body registration, inspection or monitoring, such as nursing/care homes and other businesses, financial or insurance businesses and healthcare and medical providers
    • Last inspection report (if licence application was made with a different name), or covering email/letter specifying the name used.
    • Evidence of any registration for each branch (where multiple branches are involved)
    • Documentary evidence of your registration (with any regulatory body apart from Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission, the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority, the General Medical Council or General Dental Council or the equivalent bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)
    • Any required mandatory document
    • Proof that you have obtained charitable status from HMRC (for charities based in Northern Ireland)
    • Proof of establishment for charitable purposes (for ecclesiastical corporations)
    • Explain why you are not registered with the relevant charity legislation (where applicable)
    • Franchise Agreement signed by both parties
    Food business
    • Scores on the Doors rating or a letter from the authority that approved you

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      Are Original Copies of Documentation Required for the Sponsor Licence Application?

      Proof of registration and evidence of registration documentations issued by HMRC must be original or certified copies. However documents can now be emailed to the Home Office and the sponsor licence application process can be initiated online. This has created a long-term change to the procedures for licence applications.

      Routes to Sponsor Workers

      Once a foreigner meets the required skill level, experience and qualification, they can become sponsored workers. There are two main routes to employ skilled workers that are foreign nationals; the worker routes and the temporary worker routes.

      The Worker Routes

      Skilled worker visa route: The minimum requirement for skilled worker sponsor licence is level 3 on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) for the UK and Northern Ireland. Its equivalence is the A-Levels for other countries according to the new Skilled Worker route which replaced the previous Tier 2 (General) route.

      Global Business Mobility: Formerly known as the Intra-Company Transfer route, it involves senior managers or specialist foreign workers in multinational companies who are available for job openings that cannot be filled by the settled or EEA workers.

      Minister of Religion (Tier 2): It refers to foreigners who have a job offer for an opening in a faith-based community as a minister to engage in pastoral activities, preach, function as missionary or belong as a member of a religious order.

      International Sportsperson: They are reputable foreigners who have received job offers as elite sportspersons or coaches in the country. Their contribution would further benefit UK sports at the highest level.

      The Temporary Worker Routes

      Charity worker: Sponsor licence holders can sponsor a foreigner for voluntary work with a non-profit organisation. The validity period for this immigration route is one year maximum.

      Creative worker: This is the route for creatives who want to work in the UK as an artist, musician, dancer, entertainer, or a fashion model. Its validity period is at most, 12 months, but there can be an extension by 12 months for the same sponsor.

      Global Business Mobility (GBM) routes: Some updates were made on the UK immigration rules for sponsors of temporary workers following this route as follows:

      • Graduate trainee – formerly Intra-Company Graduate Trainee route
      • UK Expansion Worker – replacement for the unsponsored Sole Representative provisions of the Representative of an Overseas Business
      • Service Supplier – replacement for the provisions for contractual service suppliers and independent professionals on the International Agreement route
      • Secondment Worker – A new immigration route for sponsored workers working in the UK temporarily as part of a high-value contract or investment by their overseas employer

      Other temporary routes include government authorised exchange, international agreement, religious worker, scale-up (also a new route) and seasonal worker.

      Get in touch with our expert team of immigration lawyers to get assistance for obtaining a sponsor licence. Contact Us

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        Key Personnel for the Licence Application

        Appointing key personnel within your organisation to liaise with the Home Office is among the sponsor licence requirements. The appointees should be resident in the UK and pass Home Office’s character and background checks. The main roles include:

        • Authorising officer – The most important role that should be overseen by a senior employee within the HR department
        • Key contact –  This person becomes the first point of contact with the Home Office and is best suited for a legal representative.
        • Level 1 user –  Manages the licence through the sponsorship management system (SMS) online portal.
        • Level 2 user – Has access to the sponsor management system but fewer permissions than level 1 users

        Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

        The Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is a confirmation issued by the UK employer to their migrant worker. It is a reference number to indicate that the supporting documents and other necessary requirements have been met. Certificate of Sponsorship exists in two forms:

        Defined CoS

        Applicable when the skilled worker visa applicant lives outside the UK and will also apply for entry clearance.

        Undefined CoS

        Applicable for migrant workers already in the UK who are applying for a skilled worker visa to remain in the UK.

        Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers, so they can help you obtain a sponsor licence. Contact Us

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          How to Submit an Online Sponsor Licence Application

          While the application form must be submitted by the authorising officer using the submission sheet, your legal representative should supervise the entire process to ensure compliance. The submission sheet and other supporting documents must be sent to the Home Office by email within five working days.

          Sponsor Licence Application Fee

          The sponsor licence fee depends on the type and size of your organisation and is as follows:

          Type of LicenceFee for Small OrganisationsFee for Medium or Large Organisations
          Temporary Worker£536£536
          Worker and Temporary Worker£536£1,476
          Adding a Worker license to an existing Temporary Worker license£940
          Adding a Temporary Worker license to an existing Worker license

          Need help with your sponsor licence? Get in touch with our immigration team. Contact Us

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            How can IAS Help

            The introduction of the new points-based system has enlarged the scope of migrant workers that can be sponsored to work in the UK. With this possibility, you need to secure your access to the best talent in your field.

            Whether you need a skilled worker or a temporary worker, you want to be sure you meet the eligibility requirement, suitability criteria and submit the right documentation to clear your path to become a sponsor.

            Our team of professional immigration attorneys are here to provide any assistance you need with UK sponsorship requirements. Call us on 0330 311 6351 or contact us online.

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