Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence

Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence

If your business is planning to employ a worker from overseas, you need to have a business sponsor licence.

Overseas workers now include citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland who arrived in the UK after 31 December 2020.

If you are running a charity you need to apply for a licence too.

You will not need a licence to sponsor certain groups, for example:
• Irish citizens
• those with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement scheme
• those with indefinite leave to remain in the UK

There is an enormous amount of legislation and guidance for businesses wanting to bring their employees to the UK and failure to comply can result in large fines and penalties, so it is important to get advice from our immigration experts before embarking on an application.


Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence Eligibility

There are certain requirements that must be met in order to obtain the licence. To apply, you must not have the following:
• unspent criminal convictions for immigration offences or other crimes such as fraud or money laundering
• had a sponsor licence revoked in the last 12 months

Your business must be genuine and you will be asked to provide a number of documents to show its exsistence and operation.

You’ll need appropriate systems in place to manage the sponsorship licence in your business. Your business may expect visits from the Home Office to confirm you are trustworthy and capable of carrying out the sponsorship duties.

Skilled Worker Job

To sponsor an overseas worker, you need to ensure their future role is on the relevant eligible occupations list. They need to be paid a suitable salary and they must have relevant skill level to fill the required position. The worker also needs to meet other criteria such as have suitable English language skills.

The minimum salary for the job the overseas worker will be doing is whichever is the highest out of the following 3 options:
• £25,600 per year
• £10.10 per hour
• the ‘going rate’ for the relevant occupation

The salary requirement for workers in healthcare or education sector might be different.

Before you embark on the sponsorship process, you may wish to discuss your potential candidate’s suitability for the Skilled Worker visa with our Immigration specialist by calling 0207 427 5970 or email us: [email protected]


Key Roles in the company

When you become a sponsor, you will be given access to the Sponsor Management System (SMS) where you can keep record of your workers and record various activities.

You will be required to appoint officers within your organisation who will be in charge of the SMS system. You will need:
• Authorising officer – this person will be responsible for the actions of anyone else with access to the SMS
• Key contact – this will your point of contact with the Immigration authorities
• Level 1 user – this person will be responsible for daily management of your licence.

The above roles can be filled by the same person or different people. Only authorised users can access the SMS system.

How to apply for Sponsor licence

The sponsor licence application can be a complex process due to the amount of documents you need to provide.
The application can be submitted online with main information about the business and its operations.

Once you’ve finished the online application, you need to provide the Home Office a number of documents, such as:
• the submission sheet at the end of the application
• the supporting documents


What documents to provide with the sponsor licence application

The Home Office has strict requirements as to which documents you need to provide with the sponsor licence application. Generally, you need to show that the business is genuine and operating. Specific paperwork will depend on the business structure, whether you run a limited company, a charity, a franchise or just starting up.

The document you might need to provide include, but are not limited to:

  • business registration documentation
  • certificate of VAT registration
  • business accounts
  • copies of contracts
  • proof of business premises
  • evidence of recruitment
  • other documentation as required

There are different types of sponsor licence and each type requires different documentation to support the application.

For more information on Sponsor Licence documents, contact our Immigration solicitor on 0207 427 5970 or email us: [email protected]


Sponsor Licence Fees

The licence fees are £536 for a small or charitable sponsor and £1,476 for a medium or large sponsor.

You will be classed as a small sponsor if you can meet at least 2 conditions:
• the business turnover is £10.2 million or less
• the business assets are worth £5.1 million or less
• the business have 50 employees or less

You’re a charitable sponsor if you’re registered as a charity in the UK.
The application takes on average 8 weeks to process though for extra fees (£500) you might be able to obtain a decision within 10 working days


What is Sponsor Licence rating

Once your licence is approved, you will be given a A-rating and your business will be listed in the Register of Sponsors.
You will have to comply with the sponsorship obligations and responsibilities or your rating might drop to B. This might have serious consequences for your business as you will not be able to sponsor new workers until your rating improves.

Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

When you wish to employ a foreign worker, you must obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).

There are 2 types of CoS:

-Defined – for workers based outside the UK
-Undefined – for workers based inside the UK Certificate of Sponsorship cost £199 with a few exemptions depending on worker’s nationality. You also need to budget for Skill Surcharge and the amount will depend on the busines size but may vary between £364 and £1000 with further fees for each additional 6 months. Some workers might be exempt from payment the Skill Surcharge.

For information on Sponsor Licence fees, contact our immigration solicitor on 0207 427 5970 or email us: [email protected]


Sponsor licence responsibilites

As sponsor licence holder, you will be expected to comply with various obligations and responsibilities. These range from correctly assigning CoS, updating the SMS system with changes in your worker’s circumstances to reporting changes to the business to name a few. The list of sponsor obligations and responsibilities is rather extensive. Some changes and activities must be reported withing strict timelines so it is important your busines has a nominated person in charge of the SMS system and reporting.

Failure to fulfil sponsorship obligation may result in your licence downgraded, suspended or withdrawn which will prevent you from employing overseas workers.

Making sure the sponsor licence is managed in a correct way is paramount to your business. Our immigration team will advise on your sponsor responsibilities in details and provide you with tips on how to successfully manage your licence.


How we can help

Our immigration solicitor is here to advise you on the sponsor licence application process from start to finish. We will discuss your business needs, type of licence you need, we will work with you on the documentation required as well as we will answer any questions you might have throughout the process.
To contact our immigration solicitor call now on 0207 427 5970 or email us: [email protected]



”We have worked with Leena on securing our sponsorship license and applying for certificates of sponsorship. We have found Leena to be professional, knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with. Leena was willing to go above and beyond to assist and guide us through the process. No question was too small which was such a relief. While dealing with a difficult applicant Leena remained calm, professional and provided us with the information we needed.

We would have no hesitation to work with Leena again or to recommend her services”.

Julie Dudley
Chief Operating Officer
The Kingston Academy

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