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Sponsor licence application guide in 2021

Following the changes provided by the government and caused by Brexit, employers wishing to hire someone who is non-EEA national or newly arrived EEA national will have to apply for a sponsor licence.

The key staff of the sponsor organisation must not have any unspent criminal convictions for Immigration Offence or other specified crimes (including Fraud or Money Laundering offences).

You are required to provide evidence that you have suitable procedures to monitor your sponsored employees. UKVI may visit your place of business in order to ensure that you are capable and honest.

When assessing an application for a UK sponsor licence the Home Office looks at:

Whether the organisation will be offering authentic employment that will meet the required skill level and applicable rates of pay.

Whether the organisation’s key personnel named of the sponsor application are reliable and honest.

Whether the proper processes are in place to assist the organisation in meeting their duty to the Home Office based on their HR and hiring procedures.

Whether the organisation is lawfully operating in the UK.

UK Sponsor Licence – The things you need to consider as a Sponsor:

Specify the type of workers you want to recruit.

With a Sponsor Licence you can either recruit skilled workers with long-term job offers (Tier 2) or temporary skilled workers (Tier 5). You can apply for a licence covering either tier or both. 

Appoint individuals within your company to carry out specific functions, also known as ‘key personnel’ such as: an authorized officer, a key contact, a level 1 user.

Gather the required evidentiary documents.

Prepare for an inspection from UK Visas and Immigration.

Comply the licence compliance duties; such as notifying a change.

Note! There is no need to conduct resident labour market test any more, thus, the whole process has become simpler.

The workers can now be sponsored at RQF level 3 equivalent to A-level standard with the minimal salary reduced to £25,600.

Ensure that the person being employed has necessary skills, qualifications or professional accreditations to do their jobs; and that if they stop working for you, you must inform UKVI.

Provide certification that proves the right to work.

The process of applying for a licence to employ workers with a United Kingdom sponsorship visa requires some fees at both the recruitment and the initial stage and the ongoing cost of licence management, these include:

Initial applications for the UK sponsor licence – Here the size of your organization dictates the fees you will pay for a UK sponsorship visa licence. Certain circumstances may require only the payment of just little sponsor licence fee.

Currently, the fee for both large and medium sponsors is £ 1,476 while £536 is the fee for charitable and small sponsors. Organizations with 50 or fewer workers and a yearly turnover of £10.2 million come under the classification of small businesses.

There is also the option of signing up for what is called the premium UK sponsorship scheme. Here the fees ranges from £2,000 to £25,000 but this is largely dependent on the size of your business and also the duration you wish to sign up for.

Applying for the extension of an existing UK sponsor licence – Here your British sponsorship visa licence expires after four years of validity but there is an exception – it has to be surrendered or revoked before expiration. For instance, when a UK sponsor fails to fulfill their duties.

If you have plans to continue hiring Tier 2 and Tier 5 migrant workers, your UK sponsor licence must be renewed. When processing the application for renewal of your sponsorship licence, the cost will be like when it is an initial application.

Additional fees may be incurred when you apply for the extension of your UK sponsorship visa licence. A good example is when you wish to add Tier 2 to and existing Tier 5 or the other way round. However, adding Tier 2 to an already existing Tier 5 licence will attract a fee of £940. Important to note that charitable sponsors will not pay any fee, same can be said for large and medium sponsors adding a Tier 5 to an already existing Tier 2.

Assigning each Certificate of Sponsorship – Any foreign worker under your employment must be assigned a CoS or Certificate of Sponsorship. This is not a physical document but an electronic record containing a unique number that employees can use in visa application.

Under the UK sponsorship visa licence any certificate of sponsorship you assign attracts £199 for Tier 2 worker and £21 for Tier 5 worker. Though nationals of Turkey, Macedonia and Croatia get it for free.

Other costs that are associated with a UK Sponsor licence

The Immigration Skills Charge Regulations of 2017 stipulates that employers may pay Immigration Skills Charge anytime they sponsor a non-EEA employee, this fee is payable when CoS is assigned.

Normally, the fee applies to a Tier 2 employee who is assigned a CoS on or after April 6 2017 and it comes under the General or Intra-Company Transfer routes.

Charitable or small organizations attract the ‘small’ fee of £364 for any affirmed period of employment up to one year, in addition to £182 for each succeeding 6-month period as stated on the certificate.

In every other case, a compulsory ‘large’ fee of £1,000 is charged for any affirmed period of employment up to one year. In addition to £500 for each succeeding 6-month period as stated on the certificate.

In the absence of an exception, these fees must be paid each time a CoS is assigned to a non-EEA citizen and that employee is either:

Applying from outside Britain for entry clearance to get employment in Britain for six months or more, or applying from within Britain for leave to remain, the duration can be any length including less than six months.

You must inform the Home Office of any change in the size of your business within 10 working days as this affects the fees payable for each CoS and skills charge.

Failing in your reporting duties may make the Home Office bring actions against you which may include suspending, downgrading or even revoking your UK sponsorship visa licence.

When you are successful with your application, the licence that you will be granted will have an “A” licensing rating. This permits an employer to assign a CoS to every foreign worker they hire.

However, failure to comply with your sponsorship duties may result to the downgrading of your rating or your UK sponsor licence being revoked or suspended.

A downgraded licence rating requires a fee of £1,476 for a sponsor action plan to aid in reinstating your “A” licence rating.

How can we help?

At Master Legal Services, an expert advisor will assess your specific circumstances and assist you with the correct application, a list of the sufficient documents for a successful application.

For more immigration-related issues such as applying for UK marriage visasapplying for fiance visasEU settlement scheme or UK naturalization please contact our office to speak to an expert today:

T: 020 8935 5205

M: +44 7710987064

E: a.s@master-legal-services.com


Our consultation fee is currently between 65 – 125 GBP. However, if you subsequently proceed with your immigration matter, we deduct the consultation fee from our total costs.

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About us

Master Legal Services is a company Registered in England & Wales No.10309474. We are authorised to provide immigration advice and services by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).


7 Bell Yard London,





020 8935 5205