Understanding the UK Sponsor Licence Process

understanding uk sponsor license process-UK Immigration Solicitors

UK Sponsor Licence Overview

If you want to employ someone to work for you from outside the UK, you will need to apply for a UK Sponsor licence. This involves the EU citizens, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland who reached the UK after December 31st, 2020. Moreover, this visa falls under the worker licence and temporary worker licence.

 To get a UK visa sponsorship organisations have to submit an application to the Home office and pay the required visa fees. Before the Home Office gives a sponsor licence, the company must show that both the jobs they are hiring for and the workers they want to sponsor meet the necessary requirements. Human resources processes must also be in place to fulfil the organisation’s heavy sponsorship compliance requirements.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for a UK Sponsorship Licence?

 To obtain an employer sponsorship licence in the UK, you must meet the following criteria:

Sponsor Licence Requirements

Sponsor Licence Requirements

  • No unspent criminal convictions related to immigration offences or specific crimes, such as fraud or money laundering.
  • No history of having a sponsor licence revoked within the past 12 months.
  • Additionally, it is essential to have effective systems in position to monitor sponsored workers, along with designated individuals responsible for managing sponsorship within your business.

 The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will assess your application form and supporting documents. They may conduct on-site visits to your business to ensure your reliability and competence in fulfilling your responsibilities. The Sponsor License application process is complicated, and the employer has to give a lot of details about their business. 

The Home Office may still compel the employer to present adequate proof that the foreign worker’s employment is necessary, even though sponsors are no longer obligated to do so under the current UK immigration system.

To sponsor permanent or temporary employees, businesses need to fill out a sponsor licence application. The type of licence an employer needs to hire an employee is directly related to the job duties of that employee.

Each foreign worker must be issued a Certificate of Sponsorship by the employer once the sponsor licence application is approved. In addition to paying wages to a foreign worker, the company has several other obligations as their employer.

Sponsor Licence Types

The type of licence required depends on the nature of the workforce you intend to recruit for your positions:

  • ‘Workers’ licence – It is required for professional and long term jobs.
  • Temporary workers’ licence is required for certain kinds of short-term jobs.

You have the flexibility to submit an application for a licence that covers either one or both sorts of workers based on your organisational needs.

Worker Sponsor Licences 

A ‘Worker’ licence enables you to sponsor individuals for various types of skilled employment, whether it’s for a small duration, long-term, or a permanent position, depending on the worker’s visa. Moreover, the licence is categorised into: 

  • Skilled Worker – The position needs to be suitable for the individual’s skills and experience.
  • Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Global Business Mobility) – Formerly known as the Intra-company Transfer visa. It is specifically created for multinational organisations that are relocating their established staff to the UK.
  • Minister of Religion – especially for those who are considering taking a job with a religious group.
  • International Sportsperson – planned for highly accomplished athletes and coaches who will be based in the United Kingdom. 

Temporary Worker Licence

A ‘Temporary Worker’ licence permits you to sponsor individuals on a temporary basis, including for volunteering and job-shadowing. This licence is applicable only for specific types of employment and visas.

The licence is categorised into:

  • Scale-up Worker – is looking for people to join a fast expanding company in the UK.
  • Creative Worker – for individuals working as artists or performers (up to 2 years) in the creative sector.
  • Charity Worker – made for those who work for free for a year at a charity.
  • Religious Worker – for individuals working in a religious order or organisation (2 years).
  • Government Authorised Exchange – to facilitate a brief transfer of information, such as during a year-long internship, a research project, or a training session.
  • International Agreement – for workers whose duties are governed by international law, such as those employed by foreign governments.
  • Global Business Mobility Graduate Trainee – for employees who are participating in a graduate training programme that involves a transfer to the company’s UK location.
  • Service Supplier (Global Business Mobility) – for employees who have a 6- or 12-month contract to deliver services to a company in the UK.
  • UK Expansion Worker (Global Business Mobility) – for employees to set up business in the UK as a subsidiary or branch of a overseas company.
  • Secondment Worker (Global Business Mobility) – to facilitate the transfer of high-value contract employees from one UK Company to another.
  • Seasonal Worker – enabling individuals to travel to the UK to work in horticulture (e.g., harvesting fruits and vegetables) for a maximum of six months or in the poultry industry from October 18th to December 31st yearly.

How to apply for a UK Sponsor Licence?

To get your licence, you have to fill out an online application. After you have completed the online application, you must submit:

  • that document that is attached to the application
  • as well as any additional documents requested from you

When you submit affidavits or statutory declarations, they must be attested to by an impartial third party. This third party can be a legal solicitor, notary public, justice of the peace, commissioner for oaths, or councillor (in Scotland only).

Ways to Send the Documents

Take pictures or scan your application form and any additional documents you may need. Include the email address that was provided on the submission form when sending them. Make sure all of your documents,

  • are in a readable format (PDF, PNG, or JPEG), 
  • have descriptive titles (25 characters or more), and 
  • are of good quality to be read.

 If you face any problems with scanning and emailing the papers, please get in touch with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) at the number provided on the submission form.

UK Sponsor Licence Cost

 An application fee is required when submitting your application. The specific fee is contingent upon the type of licence you are seeking and the nature of your organisation.

Sponsor Licence Cost

Sponsor Licence Cost

Licence Type Fee for Small or Charitable Sponsors Fee for Medium or Large Sponsors
Worker £536 £1,476
Temporary Worker £536 £536
Worker and Temporary Worker £536 £1,476
Add a Worker Licence to an Existing Temporary Worker Licence No fee £940
Add a Temporary Worker License to an Existing Worker Licence No fee No fee

Determining Your Sponsor Type: Small or Charitable

 You generally qualify as a small sponsor if you meet at least two of the following conditions:

  • Your annual turnover is £10.2 million or less.
  • The total value of your assets is £5.1 million or less.
  • Your workforce consists of 50 employees or fewer.

 On the other hand, you are considered a charitable sponsor if you meet any of the following criteria:

  •  You are a recognised charity in one of the following countries: England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland.
  • If your organisation is not listed, you will need to produce proof of its charitable status to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for tax purposes.
  • You hold the status of an ecclesiastical organisation that was founded for charitable purposes.
  • You are a charity that is excluded from taxes.

Processing Time for Decision Approval

 Under eight weeks, the majority of applications are processed. Someone from UKVI may need to come to your business.

If you want a decision in 10 business days, you can pay an additional £500. This service is only available to a limited number of applications per working day. Priority is given to requests in the order they are received, allowing for quicker decision-making. Once you’ve applied, you’ll be told how to ask for a faster response.

Common Mistakes Leading to Application Refusals

You can ask for a review of your application if you believe it was rejected because

  • Someone made a mistake while handling your application.
  • Did not consider any of your additional documents.
  • Just because you don’t agree with the choice doesn’t mean you can’t apply.

UK Sponsor Licence – FAQs

What is the duration of a sponsor licence?

 A licence for sponsorship is valid for four years. In order to keep their sponsorship permission, the sponsor needs to renew the licence before it expires.

What does the number on a Sponsor Licence mean?

The holders of Sponsor Licences are assigned a distinct reference number or code known as a Sponsor Licence number. Your Certificate of Sponsorship will include your employer’s Sponsor Licence number if you are employed as a Skilled Worker or Temporary Worker.

How much time is required to receive a UK sponsorship licence?

 While the actual processing time for a licence application is about six weeks, businesses should factor in the time it takes to gather all of the required documents, which can add up to many weeks. There may be an option to upgrade to premium processing for an extra cost.

If you have more queries you can read guide to UK Sponsor Licence faqs.


Employers who wish to sponsor qualified foreign workers must now obtain a sponsor licence. Employers looking to attract talent into the country may find it challenging to navigate the complex, expensive, and demanding terrain of UK immigration regulations.

When it comes to applying for an employer sponsorship licence, our team of UK immigration solicitors provides a full service. Our extensive background in managing all required paperwork and evidential standards guarantees a streamlined procedure. In addition, we can give you advice on the best ways to manage the licence and avoid problems with regulation. If you need any help with your sponsor licence application process, don’t hesitate to contact us.

 Read more UK Sponsor Licence Application.