Sponsor Licence Application

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Sponsor Licence

It is imperative that you successfully apply for a sponsor licence the first time to avoid unnecessary fees and losing valuable time. At Osbourne Pinner, we will advise you on the mandatory documents which your company must provide depending on the Tier and category which you are applying for. In addition, there is a very strict 5 working day deadline within which the documents must be submitted after the initial application is made and it is therefore vital that the documents in the requisite format are ready for submission to be provided to UK Visas and Immigration promptly.

If your company is looking to recruit a non-EEA migrant to work in the UK, your organisation will need to apply for a Sponsor Licence to be able to employ foreign migrants. This is a complicated process as you will be required to provide Home Office designated supporting documents and demonstrate to the Home Office that you have organised and efficient HR systems in place to attain the fulfilment of your sponsorship duties. You will need to demonstrate that your company is genuinely trading and that there is a genuine vacancy for the non-EEA migrant, which cannot be filled by a settled worker in the UK.

An application should be made a few months before you plan to employ a non-EEA migrant. It can take up to 8 weeks for a Tier 2 sponsor licence application to be considered and approved by the Home Office, although some applications take just over 2 to 3 weeks.  The length of time to consider the application will be determined by the size of your organisation and the complexity of the documents presented.

For employers to hire skilled workers from outside of the UK/EU, they need to have a Tier 2 or Tier 5 Sponsor Licence. It is therefore imperative that if you are looking to employ non-EEA nationals to work for your company in the UK, that you successfully apply for a Sponsor Licence.

Osbourne Pinner specialise in providing an exceptional service to help you through the process and to acquire a sponsor licence successfully. In order to succeed, your application must meet all of the eligibility requirements.

Basic Eligibility Criteria for a Sponsor Licence includes:

  • Proving the credibility and reliability of your company.
  • Showing your company is operating lawfully and ethically in the UK.
  • Demonstrating capability to fulfil sponsorship duties and comply with the rules.
  • Evidencing you can provide employment at the requisite minimum skill and salary requirements as defined by the Home Office.


Most applications are processed in 8 weeks and some applications take just over 2 to 3 weeks.  UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requires different types of official documentation to verify your company’s details. Furthermore, UKVI may visit your business offices and any third-party locations where migrant workers will be performing their duties as part of an announced or unannounced visit before a decision on the sponsor licence application is made.

Business Sponsor Licence

Business sponsor licences allow UK businesses to sponsor non-EEA nationals to work in the UK. If you want to sponsor someone under the points-based immigration system, you must hold a sponsor licence.  Once this licence is granted to your company, it will allow a non-EEA national to make an application for their Tier 2 (General) or Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) work visa.

As a sponsor, your business will be required to prove that you understand the duties and responsibilities expected of you as a sponsor.

Application Process

How to apply for a Sponsor Licence:

If your business wants to apply for a sponsor licence under Tier 2 and/ or Tier 5 of the points-based immigration system, it must be registered with Companies House and must be able to provide at least 4 documents as listed in Appendix A: supporting documents for sponsor licence applications as evidence that the company is operating lawfully and ethically in the UK.

There are two types of sponsor licence as follows:

Tier 2: Skilled workers with job offers

Under Tier 2, a skilled worker can apply to enter or remain in the UK if they have a job offer in the UK from a company who has a valid sponsor licence. Tier 2 is split into the following 3 main categories:

  • Tier 2 (General): for new skilled hires
  • Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer): for transferring existing overseas employees
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson): for elite sportsperson or coaches

The company shall have to identify the need for a specific job role in the UK in order to commence the process which must meet the minimum skill and salary requirements as defined by the Home Office.

You must indicate which jobs are currently vacant and for which you intend to assign a CoS. If you have already identified someone that you wish to employ, you should provide evidence of how you identified the person. If you identified the person as a result of a recruitment process, you should include copies of advertisements placed to recruit for the job, details of any applicants and why they were not suitable for the job. You should confirm whether the person is already working for you.  If you have not advertised the job and the migrant is not currently working for you, you should confirm how you identified that this person was the most suitable for the job. 

If you want to recruit a skilled worker from outside of the European Economic Area on a Tier 2 (General) visa, then you need to first complete a 28-calendar day Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) to prove that there is no suitable settled worker available for the role.  Please note that a migrant can be sponsored under Tier 2 (General) for a job on the Shortage Occupation List.  In this instance, there is an exemption from the Resident Labour Market Test.

To complete a compliant Resident Labour Market Test, a sponsor must advertise in the UK on two Home Office compliant advertising mediums for 28 calendar days in most cases. If the advertisement is in 2 stages, then it is necessary to run each advert for a total of 28 calendar days. 

Osbourne Pinner can assist with all of the above subcategories of visa applications.

Tier 5:  Temporary workers

Under this category, temporary workers can apply to enter the UK only for a short term, normally for a maximum period of between 12-24 months.  Tier 5 is split into the following 5 main categories:

  • Creative and Sporting
  • Charity Workers
  • Religious Workers
  • Government Authorised Exchange
  • International Agreement

Osbourne Pinner can also assist with all of the above subcategories of visa applications.

Sponsorship Management System (SMS)

Once the sponsor licence is granted, your business will be granted access to the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) in order that it can assign Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) documents to migrant workers to be employed with your business in the UK.  The Sponsorship Management System (SMS) is used to:  

1) Create & assign Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS’s) to employees under the Tier 2 and Tier 5 visa categories.

2) Report changes of circumstances of sponsored employees including changes to employment details and the withdrawal of sponsorship.

3) You can also review & manage your organisation’s licence.

Osbourne Pinner can be appointed as Representative on the Sponsor Management System (SMS) on behalf of your business in order to manage reporting duties to ensure the fulfilment of all sponsorship duties.

Sponsor requirements and duties:

The business as a sponsor must check that foreign workers have the necessary skills, accreditation and qualifications to do their jobs and must retain all documents on HR files in compliance with Appendix D: Keeping documents – guidance for sponsors.

The business as a sponsor must also inform the Home Office if foreign workers are not complying with their visa conditions. The Home Office can make further enquiries and if it is found that your organisation is in breach of immigration sponsorship duties or you have employed an illegal worker then the business could be removed from the Home office’s Register of Sponsors.

Why Choose Our Services

  • We have an exceptionally high approval rate on sponsor licence applications which we have submitted to the Home Office and over 15 years of experience in managing new and renewal sponsor licence applications for a wide range of multinational corporations (MNC’s) and small to medium sized enterprises (SME’s).
  • Many applicants face difficulties in understanding the application process and in providing the required documentation.  We provide a highly personalised service and our experienced Immigration Solicitors can ‘hand-hold’ clients through the application process providing detailed guidance and support.
  • At Osbourne Pinner, we provide unsurpassed immigration legal services in an exceptionally professional and efficient manner.

For a confidential discussion about your immigration matter, call us on 0203 983 5080 or fill in the form for a call back.

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