This section aims to help employers through the process of applying for a sponsor licence.
Our ten-step guide will give you an overview.
These tools are only designed to help you with your application. Before you apply, you must read the information in the How do I sponsor a migrant? section and the full sponsor guidance document, which you can download from the right side of this page.
You can also find the answers to some frequently asked questions below.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What requirement is there for the sponsor to speak English? Are interpreters available if required to go on site visits? There is no requirement for the sponsor to speak English. Interpreters are available to attend site visits if necessary.
- Where should I send my supporting documents and payment? The address that employers should send their supporting documents and payment to is included on the submission sheet that is issued and printed at the end of the online sponsorship licence application process.
If we have a head office in the United Kingdom do we have to apply for a single licence to cover all our branches?
It is not a requirement that your head office has to make an application on behalf of the whole organisation. If your organisation is made up of several branches, it is possible for each branch to apply for a separate licence or for a group of branches to apply for a licence together.
The organisation has to decide which model is best for them, taking into consideration the structure and where the HR is managed for the migrant. There is no single 'right way' and the system has been left flexible to accommodate all the different permutations of how organisations are structured. Paragraphs 90 and 91 of the guidance cover this.
- What convictions do I have to disclose on the application form? A spent conviction does not have to be disclosed. All others should be disclosed and UK Border Agency will discount those that are not applicable.
When I apply for a sponsor licence, does my application cover all of the tiers?
Your application covers all the tiers you select when you complete the application form. We ask you to specify in which tiers you want to be a sponsor. The sponsor register is currently open for tiers 2, 4, and 5. You can select all three of these tiers if you wish.
If you decide to make an application only for one or two tiers and then need to extend your sponsorship to further tiers later on, you can do so by making a further application. There is no detriment to you in submitting your applications in this way.
- When and how will my documents be returned? The documentation will be returned at the end of the case working process by recorded delivery through Royal Mail post. If you want to receive your notification and documents by any other method, you should send in the appropriate pre-paid special envelopes with the initial package you send to the commercial partner.
- We have several subsidiaries in the United Kingdom. Do we have to register all of our United Kingdom subsidiaries together? No you can register in a number of ways. You might want to make your decision based on how the HR functions for each subsidiary are organised. You can register them all separately, as a group of branches or a combination of both. It is up to you to choose the solution that meets your needs and allows you to fulfil your sponsor duties.
Why do I need to specify the number of certificate of sponsorship that I will need in the licence application?
Limiting the number of certificates of sponsorship you can issue will help us manage risk.
If you discover at a later date you need to increase the number of certificates of sponsorship you can issue, you should contact your account manager.
When does the duration of the licence begin?
The licence will last for four years unless it is withdrawn or surrendered before then. The licence begins either on the date that the licence was issued or the date that the relevant tier, category or sub-category opens, whichever is the later.
- Is there a paper based form? No. All applications are made online.
- Why are the ratings published? The ratings are to help make the system as transparent as possible.
How can I decide on the number of certificates of sponsorship to request?
The number of certificates of sponsorship requested should be based on the number of migrants you have brought in during previous years. This might be the number of:
- work permits that were issued;
- international students that attended the university; or
- ministers of religion that came to your organisation.
If you underestimate the number of certificates you need, it may be possible to increase your limit. You should contact your account manager for information.
- What does it mean to be a B-rated sponsor? A B-rating means that you are a licensed sponsor but that there are areas where improvements or additional duties are required. To return to an A-rating you must pay for a tailored action plan and meet all the requirements we out in that plan.