How do I sponsor a migrant worker?
Assigning certificates of sponsorship
This page explains how to assign a certificate of sponsorship.
To assign a certificate of sponsorship, you must use the sponsorship management system. We give you access to this system when you become a licensed sponsor.
On the system, you complete the migrant and sponsorship details (such as salary, skill level, and whether the job meets the resident labour market test).
When you assign a certificate of sponsorship to a migrant, you must give three pieces of information about the migrant's salary package:
- You must give the gross salary figure which includes any allowances and guaranteed bonuses;
- You must give a separate figure for the total of all allowances and guaranteed bonuses included in the first figure; and
- You must give a detailed breakdown of each allowance and each guaranteed bonus showing what they are for and the value of each one.
The gross salary figure quoted on the CoS must be represent the remuneration actually paid to the migrant, gross of any tax actually paid in respect of that remuneration (whether paid in the United Kingdom or overseas) and must include any permissible allowances and guaranteed bonuses. The total of all allowances and guaranteed bonuses paid, and included in that figure, should then be entered in the 'gross allowances' box on the CoS, then broken down and detailed in the free text box that immediately follows.
The figure quoted must not be inflated in anticipation of any tax relief, such as relief on expenditure related to the employment, or tax which would be incurred by the employment of a resident worker but not in respect of the migrant. (For example, if the gross salary package is £20,000 but the migrant worker will have the same net package after tax as a resident worker paid £24,000 before tax, you must enter a salary package is £20,000.)
A certificate of sponsorship can only be assigned by someone who has access to the sponsorship management system as a level 1 or level 2 user. When you have assigned a certificate of sponsorship, you must give the unique reference number to the migrant. The migrant must then apply to us for permission to enter or stay in the UK, and must quote the reference number on their application form.
A migrant cannot apply for initial permission to enter the UK more than 3 months before the date when they are due to start work.
The fact that a certificate of sponsorship has been assigned does not guarantee that the migrant will be given permission to enter or stay. They must meet all of the requirements for the relevant tier and category before they can be granted permission to enter or stay.
If you are thinking about assigning a certificate of sponsorship to a migrant who is already in the UK, you should understand the effect that their current immigration status may have on their application for permission to stay because of the rules on 'switching'. See the section on how long workers can stay for more information on switching.
See the section on costs to find out the fees for certificates of sponsorship.
How you should send the certificate of sponsorship to the migrant
You must forward the certificate of sponsorship number to the migrant and treat it as if it was a secure and confidential document. You can also give a printed copy of the certificate of sponsorship to the migrant, as they may need the information (such as the details of the resident labour market test) when they apply to us.
How long is the certificate of sponsorship valid for?
A certificate of sponsorship under Tier 2 or Tier 5 is valid for 3 months from the date of issue.
The certificate of sponsorship will automatically become invalid if the migrant does not use it within this time to apply to enter or remain in the UK. During this time, another sponsor cannot assign another certificate of sponsorship to them. If the migrant does not want the job you have offered them, they should contact you to cancel or withdraw the certificate of sponsorship before they apply for another job. This is so that they can get another certificate of sponsorship from a different sponsor if they need one.
If you assign a certificate of sponsorship outside the sponsorship rules
You are fully responsible for the actions of any person that you have appointed as a Level 1 or level 2 sponsorship management system user. If your sponsorship management system users do not comply with the rules on assigning certificates of sponsorship, we will take action against you.
If you don not have enough certificates of sponsorship
Every year you are allocated a number of certificates of sponsorship which you can assign to migrants. You cannot assign certificates if you have used up this allocation.
If you think your allocation is too low, or if you reach or are approaching the end of your allocation, you can ask us to increase it. The Annual allocation of certificates of sponsorship page explains how to do this.
Do it online
This term is applied to a sponsor under the points-based system for coming to the United Kingdom to work, train or study. It is the rating awarded by us when a sponsor joins the register of sponsors. A B rating is a transitional rating for a sponsor who is under a sponsorship action plan.
A non-visa national is a national or citizen of any country that is NOT listed in Appendix 1 of the immigration rules (nationals of countries listed in Appendix 1 are visa nationals). A non-visa national does not need a visa to come to the United Kingdom for less than six months, unless it is a requirement of the immigration category under which they are entering. A non-visa national coming to the United Kingdom for more than six months will need a visa.
This is the process an employer must follow before employing a person who is not a permanent resident of the United Kingdom if he/she is first required to show that no resident worker could be found to take a job.
Specific types of work that have been officially listed as ones for which there are not enough resident workers to fill available jobs. Employers who wish to hire a worker from outside the European Economic Area to fill a vacancy that is on a list of shortage occupations may do so without carrying out a resident labour market test.
An IT system used by organisations that sponsor migrants under the points-based system. It allows sponsors to allocate certificates of sponsorship to migrants, carry out the administrative functions necessary to comply with their sponsor obligations and duties, and communicate information to us.