What you need to know before applying for a sponsorship licence

Sponsorship licence

What you need to know before applying for a sponsorship licence

In recent years, the number of foreign employees in the labour force has increased; in fact, in 2020, non-British nationals made up 16% of the national workforce, as foreign talent helped businesses in the UK fill core skill gaps. To recruit international talent for your organisation, you need to obtain a sponsorship licence, which is complex at the best of times. Recently, this confusion has only been exacerbated by the recent changes wrought across Home Office regulations.

How can you obtain a sponsorship licence?

Today, there are four steps to becoming a licenced sponsor:


  1. Meet suitability and eligibility criteria
  2. Choose the type of licence you want to obtain
  3. Appoint key personnel to manage sponsorship requirements
  4. Submit the online application along with the required documents

Meeting suitability and eligibility criteria

One of the first prerequisites to becoming a sponsor is that you should operate a business in the UK. Private individuals are not allowed to become sponsors unless they’re sole traders.

Criteria for eligibility:

  • You must operate a genuine business with a lawful trading presence in the UK
  • You must not have taken part in any activities that aren’t conducive to the public good
  • You must prove that you can perform due diligence across your sponsor duties 

Criteria for suitability:

  • You must have HR systems in place to meet sponsor duties 
  • You must ensure that the Home Office can visit your business premises
  • You must offer a genuine employment opportunity with an appropriate level of pay
  • You must appoint key personnel to manage your sponsorship requirements 
  • You must not have previous records of sponsorship non-compliance

Job eligibility for sponsorship

You can sponsor a worker if the job you’re offering is at the required skill level and meets the minimum salary requirements and other criteria outlined in their visa.

You can use the ONS occupation coding tool to check if the job role you’re offering is eligible for sponsorship.

Types of licence

There are two main types of sponsorship licences available to sponsor talent:

  • Worker licence
    • Skilled Worker licence
    • Intra-company Transfer licence
    • International Sportsperson licence
    • Minister of Religion licence
  • Temporary Worker licence

Appointing key personnel

Before applying for a sponsor licence, you must appoint three key personnel, including:

  • An Authorising Officer
  • A Key Contact
  • A Level 1 User

One person can hold all three positions in an organisation but this must be specified in the application.

Submitting the application

Today, you can apply for your sponsor licence through the online portal maintained by the Home Office.

When submitting your application, or within five days of submitting your application, you must produce the following documents.

  • Your latest audit reports
  • A liability insurance certificate worth at least £5,000,000
  • Proof of registration with HMRC as a PAYE and National Insurance-paying employer
  • Proof of ownership or lease of the business premises
  • Certificate of VAT registration and the latest VAT returns
  • Evidence of an active corporate bank account with a bank governed by the financial conduct authority

Once your licence has been approved, you need to pay a licence fee, which can vary based on the size and annual revenue of your organisation.

What you need to know after applying for a sponsorship licence

Once you’ve submitted your application along with the supporting documents, you will be given a licence rating if your application is successful. You can then issue Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) to your candidates to help them complete their visa application process.

The sponsorship licence will be valid for a period of 4 years and you must meet all your responsibilities as a sponsor in a timely manner to continue enjoying the privilege of sponsoring workers.

Eliminate the stress of the sponsorship licence application process with the right technology

The process of applying for a sponsor licence can be daunting for any business. 

The good news is that you can now streamline your application process through the support and expertise of immigration and legal experts.

At Nation.better, that’s our forte.

Today, we help businesses obtain their sponsor licence with fewer costs and errors through our end-to-end sponsor licence support. We provide services otherwise worth thousands of pounds for just £1,000 + VAT (not including Home Office fees)

Download our FREE guide:

How to apply for a sponsor licence in the UK

Download our step-by-step guide and start on your sponsorship journey today!

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