How does sponsorship work

To get a licence, you must apply to us using the online application form and supply specified documents to prove that you are suitable and eligible. These documents are listed in Appendix A of the guidance for sponsors.

A sponsor licence is valid for 4 years, after which it will expire. The only exceptions are if UKVI  revoke it or you surrender it before it expires. UKVI reserve the right to take action against you if UKVI have reason to believe you pose any risk to immigration control. The 4 years will run from the date your licence is granted.

When UKVI  consider your application UKVI  assess whether you meet the requirements below. You must:

  • complete and send the online sponsor application – this includes a declaration from you that you agree to meet all of the duties associated with being a licensed sponsor
  •  pay the correct fee
  •  provide proof you are based in the UK and provide original or certified copies of the documents listed in Appendix A, unless UKVI  say otherwise, to show you are genuine and operating or trading lawfully in the UK; an organisation is deemed to have been ‘operating or trading’ in the UK from the point at which it was incorporated  meet the eligibility and suitability criteria
  •  if asked, provide evidence of holding the appropriate planning permission or Local Planning Authority consent to run your type/class of business at your trading address, if consent is required by your Local Authority
  •  where you are a food business, if asked, be able to provide evidence of your registration with, or approval from, a relevant food authority

UKVI will also consider any evidence which suggests you may be a threat to immigration control, or evidence from a public body of your lack of compliance with their rules.

When you complete the online sponsor licence application, you must choose which tiers, categories and sub categories you wish to be licensed under. You can choose as many tiers, categories or sub categories as you need, provided you are eligible for them. If your application is successful these will then be the only ones you can sponsor a migrant under.

Licence applications may be rejected, refused or granted with an A-Rating. The ‘Rating sponsors’ section has information about the decision UKVI  may make on your application.

If your application for a licence is granted, you will then be able to assign certificates of sponsorship (CoS) to migrants who wish to work for you. UKVI  will decide how many CoS you will be allowed to assign.

As a licensed sponsor you must meet certain duties such as telling us if migrants do not turn up for work or are absent without permission for a significant period. You must keep records on the migrants you sponsor, including up to date contact details and a copy of their biometric residence permit (BRP). You must also give any documents to us on request.

You have a duty to act honestly in any dealings with us, such as not making false statements and ensuring all essential information is disclosed when applying for a sponsor licence or assigning or applying for a CoS, or while you are a sponsor.

If UKVI  believe you have knowingly provided false statements or false information, or not provided information that you held when required to, or pose a threat to immigration control,UKVI  will take action against you. The ‘What will happen if I don’t comply with my sponsor duties’ section has more information on the action UKVI may take and the processes UKVI  will follow in such cases.

If you fail to comply with your duties, UKVI  may take action against you. Such action may include the suspension or revocation of your licence.