HCR Law Events

29 September 2021

Sponsor licence application guide

Hiring the best talent in the market is crucial to the success of any business; to remain competitive, employers may look to hire migrants to plug the gaps – if so, they must have a sponsor licence.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has seen an uptake in sponsor licence applications following Brexit as businesses struggle to fill roles – especially in science, healthcare, and IT – from the local pool of candidates.

It is important to be sure about the requirements for sponsor licence applications to make the whole process easier – this can include ensuring a comprehensive business case is submitted to maximise the chances of getting the full requested Certificates of Sponsorship (COS) allocation.

Once the application has been submitted and payment been made, it will be processed in approximately 4-8 weeks. There is an option for priority processing whereby applications can be processed in 10 working days. An additional fee of £500 is payable to expedite applications.

Here is a high-level overview of the application process and requirements.

Application criteria

Businesses must have a UK presence and be operating or trading lawfully in the UK. Depending on the structure of the business, the application can also include overseas entities to enable businesses to transfer assignees to the UK.

Key personnel

Businesses are required to appoint key personnel to fill various roles in relation to the licence. The roles are as follows:

  • Authorising Officer
  • Level 1 User
  • Level 2 User
  • Key Contact

There are strict requirements as to who in the business can fill these roles and you should take advice on selecting the most appropriate people.

Supporting documents

To assess whether the business is a genuine company with a UK trading presence, businesses are required to submit at least four documents from the list of prescribed documents. The documents will vary, depending on how long the business has been in operation and the categories being applied for. Typical documents can include business accounts, registration for VAT and PAYE, business bank statements and employer’s liability insurance.

Online application

Once an account has been created, the online sponsor licence application can be drafted and submitted. The application will require details of the company, key personnel and how many migrants the business is looking to sponsor i.e. how many certificates are required. In support of this, a robust business case needs to be provided.

Once the licence has been granted it will be valid for a period of four years allowing businesses to sponsor migrants.

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About the Author
Gemma Hill, Senior Associate

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