A sponsor licence is an essential legal step in ‘sponsoring’ non-UK national workers (including both EEA and non-EEA individuals) to work in a specific job at a specific company.
Only after obtaining a sponsor licence can an employer issue certificates of sponsorship to prospective non-UK national workers and commence lawful employment.
There are two types of sponsor licences: Worker licences and temporary worker licences.
The worker licence is designed for longer-term or skilled workers, including:
On the other hand, the temporary worker licence is suitable for those seeking shorter-term employment, such as for:
Be sure to choose the appropriate licence based on your intended role and duration of employment.
Sponsor licence application fees depend on several factors, including whether the application is made inside or outside of the UK, the size of the company and whether the organisation is a charitable organisation.
A sponsor licence number will be allocated to a specific sponsor licence holder once an application has been successful, and an employer has been recorded on the UK licenced sponsor list. It is a unique code which will be included on each individual worker’s certificate of sponsorship.
The time it takes to receive a decision on a sponsor licence application will vary depending on the size and complexity of the application, so your organisation should apply for a sponsor licence with plenty of time prior to issuing certificates of sponsorship and employing non-UK-based workers.
There is no guarantee that you will be successful on administrative review and it is important that sponsor licence applications are prepared comprehensively, all requirements are met and supporting documentation is provided promptly during the initial application.
While a refusal does not lead to an automatic right to appeal, if you believe the Home Office made a mistake in coming to a decision, you may wish to apply for administrative review. This means the Home Office will review their decision internally and consider if they have made the correct decision. If UKVI decides that a mistake has been made, a new decision is issued; if it is decided that the original decision was correct, your refusal will be upheld.
A licence will be issued for four years. It’s important to note that sponsorship licences do not automatically renew, and you must apply to renew your licence prior to expiry through the sponsor management system to ensure you remain a home office licenced sponsor. Applications to renew a sponsor licence should be made at the earliest three months before a sponsor licence expires.