How do I sponsor a migrant worker?
Renewing a sponsor licence
This page explains how you can renew your licence to sponsor migrants under the points-based system.
On this page
How long a licence lasts for
A licence lasts for 4 years, starting from the date the licence is granted.
If you have been granted a licence and later apply to add an additional tier or category to it, the expiry date of the original licence will apply to all tiers or categories you have added.
If your licence expires at the end of the 4-year period and is not renewed, you will lose the right to assign certificates of sponsorship, and will not be able to continue to act as a sponsor. Any remaining leave we have granted to migrants you sponsored will be cancelled (curtailed).
If you unintentionally allow your licence to expire , but you have sponsored migrants who you wish to continue working for you, you must contact us straight away to tell us that your licence has expired unintentionally. We will then delay reducing your sponsored migrants' leave (as set out in paragraph 740 (b)) for a period of 28 days starting from the date your licence expired. During that period you must make an application for a new licence.
How to apply to renew your licence
You can apply to renew your licence using the sponsorship management system (SMS).
Please see our guidance 'How to renew or decline your sponsor licence' for further information. You do not need to send any documents to us at this stage.
When to apply to renew your licence
You must apply to renew your licence before the date that it will expire. We strongly recommend that you make your application to renew your licence at the earliest opportunity, and in any event, at least 1 month before the expiry date. If you apply in good time, it is likely that you will have the chance to apply again if your application is rejected or refused. If your licence has expired by the time we make a decision to reject or refuse your application, you will not be able to make another application to renew your licence.
We will remind you of the need to renew before your licence expires, but it is your responsibility to apply to renew.
If you do not apply to renew before your licence expires, you will not be able to make a late application as your access to the SMS will be cancelled on the expiry date.
As long as you successfully apply to renew your licence before it expires, you will be able to continue acting as a sponsor, for example by assigning certificates of sponsorship and keeping current migrants, until we have completed the review of your licence details and sponsorship activity (see below).
The licence renewal process
The first action in the licence renewal consideration process is to validate your application by determining if you have paid the correct fee. We aim to do this within 14 days of you submitting your application and will write to you with the outcome.
Once we have validated your application, your sponsor licence will be temporarily extended to allow us to conduct a review of your activity over the previous 4 years. As part of this review, we may write to you to request supporting documents. Once the review is complete, we will write to you to inform you of the outcome of the review and any action that we have taken or intend to take as a result.
Licence renewal application fees
The fees for applying to renew a licence are the same as if you were applying for a sponsor licence for the first time. You can find the fees on the 'cost of a licence' page. The fee required for renewal of your sponsor licence may not be comparable to the fee you paid initially to be granted a licence; for instance, if the size of your organisation has changed or if you have added or surrendered tiers since becoming licensed.
The fee displayed in the sponsor management system will depend on the information we hold about the tiers in which you are licensed. If you incorrectly pay a lower fee than you should, your application will be rejected and the payment returned. Your licence expiry date will remain unchanged and you should submit a further application, paying the correct fee, before your licence expires.
If you pay a higher fee than you should, your application will be accepted and the balance refunded.
Declining to renew your sponsor licence
If you do not wish to continue to be a sponsor, you can decline to renew your sponsor licence on the sponsor management system. If you do so, your licence will expire on its expiry date, after which you will no longer be able to operate as a sponsor in any tier or category. Please refer to the sponsor management system guidance referred to above for more information.
Alternatively, if you wish to continue to be a sponsor in some tiers or categories but not others, you should surrender the relevant tiers or categories of your licence before applying to renew. For further information on surrendering part or all of your licence, please see the 'Surrendering your licence' page.
If you choose to decline to renew, you will be required to accept a declaration screen in the sponsor management system, which explains the implications of declining to renew your licence. If you choose 'Confirm' on this screen, your licence will expire on its expiry date. You will not be able to reverse this action, so only proceed if you are certain that you do not wish to retain your sponsor licence and have the explicit approval of your authorising officer. If you choose to decline to renew and your licence expires, you would need to make a new application for a sponsor licence if you subsequently wish to sponsor overseas workers or students.