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Apply for a Sponsor Licence

The Skilled Worker route enables UK employers to recruit workers from outside the EEA to fill a skilled roles that cannot be filled by a local worker.

A Sponsor Licence application will first be necessary for a UK based company to sponsor a Skilled Worker . This is often a complicated process as you will need to provide specified evidence to demonstrate that your company is trading and that you have a genuine vacancy.

How do I apply for a tier 2 Sponsor Licence

How to apply for a Sponsor Licence

Before deciding to bring an individual into the UK on either the Skilled Worker route (formerly Tier 2) or Intra Company Transfer (formerly Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer) a Sponsor Licence will be required. Valid Tier 2 licences will have been transferred into Skilled Worker / Intra Company Transfer licences automatically.

Making a Sponsor Licence application is often a complicated process, navigating Home Office Sponsor Licence guidance, the company will have to provide specified evidence to demonstrate that the company is trading and has a “genuine vacancy” that requires filling by the sponsored migrant.  In order to successfully apply for the licence, employers will need to demonstrate that they have adequate HR measures in place to monitor and track migrant worker activity.

Magrath Sheldrick LLP can help you to avoid the common pitfalls, caused by not following Sponsor Licence guidance, such as:-

  • not sending documents within the specified period;
  • including documents not in the format required;
  • not providing sufficient evidence of a genuine vacancy;
  • not having adequate HR measures in place to track and monitor sponsored workers;
  • non-compliance with legal right to work legislation.

We work with a significant number of employers, large and small, across a wide range of business sectors to manage sponsorship issues and ensure that workers arrive in good time and with a complete set of compliance documentation.

How much does a sponsor licence application cost?

The fee for a sponsor licence depends on the size and type of organisation. This application fee is payable every time the sponsor renews their licence (every four years). Fees are usually reviewed annually by the Home Office which publishes them on its website.

Currently organisations classified as “medium” and “large” are required to pay a sponsor licence fee of £1,476. This fee would apply to all organisations which do not meet the definition of a “small” sponsor.

An organisation would normally qualify as a small sponsor if two of the following apply:

  • your annual turnover is £10.2 million or less
  • your total assets are worth £5.1 million or less
  • you have 50 employees or fewer

Registered Charities are also considered to be “small” sponsors. Organisations classified as “small” sponsors are required to pay a sponsor licence fee of £536.

What happens once the application is approved?

Once you have successfully applied for a Sponsor Licence it is valid for 4 years and a company can expect a Home Office audit to ensure compliance within this period. You will be able to find the Sponsor Licence number on the approval letter and also the Licence Summary page on the Sponsor Management System (SMS).

In order to sponsor an individual Magrath Sheldrick will ensure that the role offered is suitably skilled to justify a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) being awarded.  In particular, the Home Office wish to see that the role is at the required skill level, the salary is over and above the minimum prescribed levels and that the individual has suitable qualifications/experience to carry out the role.

What is a CoS?

A CoS is an electronic document generated to an individual on the SMS after a licence is granted. In order to sponsor a migrant worker, the company must first request a Certificate of sponsorship from the Home Office through the SMS. Once this is granted, the company will need to assign it to the migrant worker they intend to sponsor to generate a unique reference number for the candidate to submit during their visa application. It is important to issue the correct CoS type to the individual. There are two types of CoS:

·        Defined CoSThese certificates are required for those who are based outside the UK and making an entry clearance application as a Skilled Worker. Those who are in the UK as visitors will not be able to apply for a Skilled Worker visa within the UK and will need to return to their country of residence for submission.

·        Undefined CoSThe annual allocation of undefined CoS runs from 6 April to 5 April each year. A sponsor can request multiple undefined CoS before the deadline on 5 April if they foresee a need to extend the leave of an existing employee or have identified someone they wish to sponsor  (for example, someone “switching” visa category).

Sponsor Licence Guidance

Once you have obtained a Sponsor Licence, it is essential that you maintain compliance in line with the Home Office guidance. To assist with this process, Magrath Sheldrick also provide an online portal to allow HR departments to manage all of their assignee’s online to simply compliance requirements and receive timely alerts and reports.  Please click here for more details.

Further information regarding compliance requirements and guidance can be found at: Compliance and Audit Services



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