Apply for a Sponsorship License: Guidance Part 1

Brexit has brought an end to the European Union (EU) free movement and caused a change to the United Kingdom (UK) Immigration Laws. This essentially means that from 1st January 2021, all EU nationals coming to the UK to work have had to be sponsored by a licensed employer who holds a valid sponsorship licence.European nationals were previously exempted from this requirement prior to Brexit and could live and work in the UK without sponsorship.


This has led to amendments in the Immigration laws. The UK has adopted a new points-based system which replaces the Tier 2 (General) visa. This new skilled worker route applies to all Non-UK nationals coming to the UK who apply for a skilled worker visa.



The process of obtaining a skilled worker visa is lengthy and complex. In order to apply for a skilled worker visa, the applicant will first need to be sponsored by an employer who holds a valid Sponsorship licence. In order to obtain the Sponsorship Licence, the employer will have to make an application to the Home Office and meet the stringent requirements set by the Home Office. The Home Office’s rules and guidelines on sponsoring workers are contained within a 200-page long Guidance document which our Solicitors are well versed with.


Types of Licence


The skilled work visa can be for a short time, long-term or permanent depending on the worker’s visa. The employer can apply for a licence covering one or both types of workers.


  • Skilled Worker - the role must meet the job suitability requirements (Replaces the Tier 2 visa route).

  • Intra-company visas - this includes Intra-company Transfer and Intra-company Graduate Trainee, for multinational companies which need to transfer established employees or graduate trainees to the UK.

  • Tier 5 Temporary worker visa for temporary roles in the sports, charities, and religious fields


Once the employer has obtained any of the above-mentioned licences, they will be allowed to sponsor potential employees to come to the UK. The Sponsorship licence can only be granted to organisations and individuals are not allowed to apply for it.


The sponsorship licence is accompanied by the Home Office’s strict compliance and monitoring obligations and scrutiny for the employer to prevent misuse and illegal activities. If the employer fails to meet its obligations under the sponsor licence it can result in enforcement actions by the Home Office ranging from heavy fines and revocation of the licence.


Sponsor licence Eligibility requirements


All employers must meet the stringent eligibility and suitability requirements. The Home Office will thoroughly assess the employer’s ability to meet the requirements.


Any organisation which meets the following eligibility requirements can apply for the licence without any restrictions on the size or type of the organisation:

  1. The organisation must be genuine and must be operating lawfully in the UK. It must be registered with the relevant authorities if applicable. There are no requirements for the organisation to have been established for a specific period of time.

  2. The organised must have a presence in the UK for example, a foreign company without an office in the UK cannot apply for the licence.

The employers must also meet the following suitability requirements:

  1. The employer must be able to satisfy the Home Office that they are hiring for a genuine vacancy which meets the skilled worker criteria.

  2. The owners, directors, partners etc of the organisation must not have any unspent convictions.

  3. The organisation must have a HR and recruitment system in place to comply with the sponsor duties and obligations.

  4. The organisation must not represent a threat to immigration control i.e., must not have any record of previous non-compliance.

  5. The organisation must also have the appropriate permissions, consents, approvals from any Local Planning Authority for the type of business operated at the trading address.

If the organisation does not meeting the eligibility and suitability criteria, their application will be refused. This will mean having to applying again or appealing against the decision of the Home Office, either of which could turn out to be very expensive and time consuming. Therefore, it is important to get it right on the first attempt.


How can Pure Business Law help?


Our specialist UK Sponsorship Licence solicitors will help you with all stages of your UK Sponsorship Licence application. They will review your case thoroughly and present you with options on how to proceed. The years of experience that make up the knowledge base of our business means that our specialist solicitors who are well versed in UK Sponsorship Licence for Employers will be able to provide options for you even where the circumstances are dire.


Our approach to dealing with your UK Sponsorship Licence fee application is quite simple. A one-off fixed fee that never changes. So, no unexpected surprises. Call us and get a quote. No two cases are the same, but one thing is for sure. Once we give you a price, it won’t change unless you change the scope of work. That’s a promise we will keep!


If you are a business who wants to hire Foreign Nationals or are thinking of expanding your business internationally, please contact us and book a consultation with one of our expert Business and Immigration Law Solicitors. We are specialist Business and Immigration Law Solicitors based in London and Bedford and operate nationally.


Our highly experienced Business and Immigration Solicitors can help with advising and acting on your businesses’ behalf and drafting any documentation required.


If you would like to discuss anything raised in this article, please contact us and speak with one of our expert solicitors. Pure Business Law is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and is a licensed member of the Law Society of England & Wales.


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