To be allowed to apply for a licence to sponsor sportspeople, you must be a sporting body, sports club, events organiser or other organiser operating, or intending to work in the sporting sector. If you are an agent, you cannot be a sponsor for sports people under this category.
Before applying you must make sure you have an endorsement from the Home Office approved sport governing body for your specific sport. The list of governing bodies currently approved by us is in Appendix M of the Immigration Rules.
Through its endorsement, the sport governing body confirms to us that you are a genuine club or equivalent, and you have a legitimate requirement to bring migrants to the UK as sportspeople.
If your sport does not have a recognised governing body, you should email the Economic Migration Policy team. We will consult with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Central Council of Physical Recreation and/or other sports councils to identify if there is a suitable body who could act as a Home Office recognised governing body.
If your sport does not have a Home Office approved sport governing body, you should email the Economic Migration Policy team. We will ask the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Sports and Recreational Alliance (SRA) and/or other sports councils to identify if there is a suitable body who could act as our recognised sport governing body.
Once a suitable sport governing body is identified and we agree that they can endorse your application, you can make an application for a sponsor licence. You must send in all of the documents listed in Appendix A of the guidance for sponsors that are relevant to you, including your sport governing body endorsement referred to as a ‘sporting body endorsement’ in the online sponsor licence application form.
If we have had to approve a sport governing body for your specific sport which is not yet listed in Appendix M of the Immigration Rules and we then grant your licence application, you may not be able to sponsor migrants straight away. This is because your sport governing body must be added to Appendix M before we can grant leave to any migrants in connection with that sport under the Tier 2 (Sportsperson) or Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Creative and Sporting categories. The Immigration Rules are usually only updated in April and October each year.
We will advise you of the date that your sport governing body will be added to Appendix M of the Immigration Rules but you must remember that although you can start assigning certificates of sponsorship (CoS) straight away, timing is crucial because:
- once a CoS is assigned it will only be valid for 3 months
- if a migrant applies for leave using that CoS before your governing body has been added to Appendix M of the Immigration Rules, their application will be refused
When you complete the online sponsor application, you can only choose one sport from the list provided in the ‘Sporting body endorsement’ section. If you want to sponsor migrants under more than one sport, you must choose one from the list provided and then when giving your reasons for the number of CoS needed, you can list the other sports you want covered on your licence. You must have a separate sport governing body endorsement and unique reference number for each sport.
Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Charity Workers
To apply for a licence as a sponsor of charity workers you must be a registered, excepted or exempt UK charity in line with the relevant charity legislation in force in your part of the UK, or an ecclesiastical corporation, either corporation sole or body corporate, established for charitable purposes.
Tier 5 creative sector
To be allowed to apply for a licence to sponsor creative workers and their entourage, you must be operating, or intending to operate, in the creative sector. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- a national body
- event organiser
- other similar organisation
Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Government Authorised Exchange
This category is for migrants coming to the UK through approved schemes that aim to share knowledge, experience and best practice. There are 4 steps to establishing a new Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) scheme. You should allow approximately 3 to 4 months to get a new scheme agreed and there may then be a further wait before you can start to sponsor any migrants.
These timings are approximate because it will depend entirely on the strength of the case and the level of detail you first approach us with. The timings are important because once you have successfully been through the first 3 steps you will be ready to apply for a sponsor licence, but you cannot sponsor any migrants to take part in a new scheme until your sponsor licence has been granted and your scheme added to Appendix N of the Immigration Rules. The Rules are updated twice a year in April and October but in practice, all changes to the Rules must be agreed approximately 6 weeks ahead of time. This means that if your scheme is approved for example in March, we may not be able to add it to Appendix N until the following October.
Step 1: agree who the overarching body will be If you want to set up a scheme under the GAE sub category of Tier 5 and cannot act as the overarching body, such as, if you want a sector wide scheme but you only represent a small part of your sector, you should try to find an organisation that may be suitable to be the overarching body. First, you should look at the schemes we have already approved in case there is one that already covers, or could be expanded to include what you want to do. All existing schemes are listed in Appendix N of the Immigration Rules.
If you think one of the existing schemes may be able to accommodate you, you should approach the overarching body to explore possibilities before trying to set up a new scheme. If there is no existing scheme that can accommodate your needs, you may want to explore if there is a trade, or sector body that would like to establish a new scheme and act as the overarching body. Alternatively, there may be a private recruitment company willing and able to fill this role, for example if they organise specific kinds of internships for overseas graduates.
Step 2: government department (or executive agency) endorsement Once the overarching body is identified, they must approach a relevant government department, or one of its executive agencies, to ask if they are willing to endorse the scheme. They must decide which government department to approach for support. If you are the prospective overarching body and have identified the relevant government department but do not know a contact, you can email the Tier 5 (GAE) team and we will help you find the right person. We cannot give you any indication as to whether the scheme is likely to be approved at that point as we will be guided by the endorsing government department, or its executive agency.
When you have established which government department or agency to approach, you must write to them giving full details of the scheme. You should explain in full detail:
- why the scheme is necessary
- what benefits the scheme will offer to your sector and to the UK
- what participating migrants will do under the scheme including:
- details of the roles filled
- salaries or payments that will be made to participating migrants
- the skill level of the work they will do
- what period of time migrants will spend in the UK under the scheme and why that period is suitable – the ‘Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Government Authorised Exchange (GAE)’ section has more information
When deciding which schemes to support, government departments or their executive agencies choose those that meet the following requirements:
- the scheme must not harm the resident labour market – migrants coming to the UK to take part in schemes must not fill vacancies; they must be over and above any normal staffing requirements (supernumerary)
- any work undertaken must be at a skill level of RQF level 3, or the equivalent in Scotland or above – the exception is where the migrant is coming to the UK through a scheme which is part of the EU Lifelong Learning Programme, where the migrant may undertake vocational education and training at a lower skill level.
- the scheme must help the government department, or its executive agency, meet its published aims or contribute to its wider objectives
- the employment must conform to all relevant UK and European employment legislation, such as the National Minimum Wage Act and EU working time directive
- the scheme must include measures that protect it from abuse They must be confident in your ability to:
- act as the sponsor for the scheme
- meet all sponsor duties set out in this guidance The government department or executive agency you approach will contact us to discuss whether your requirements meet what is permitted and to consider whether there are any issues in connection with the government’s wider aims and objectives for immigration control.
If the government department, or one of its executive agencies, endorses the scheme, their relevant Accounting Officer must send a letter of endorsement to our Director for Immigration Operations, UK Visas & Immigration Service, giving details of the overarching body and confirming that:
- the scheme satisfies all requirements that they must meet when choosing schemes to support
- the scheme will help them to meet one or more of their published aims or contribute to their wider objectives
- they are satisfied that you are capable of meeting your sponsor duties
- if large numbers of migrants under the scheme break the Immigration Rules, they agree that we may end it
We reserve the right to end the scheme if we consider that there is a threat to immigration control.
Step 3: approval Once the scheme is endorsed by a relevant government department or executive agency, you must send your full proposal and the endorsement from the relevant government department or executive agency by email to the Tier 5 (GAE) team.
We will have the final say on whether to approve it. If approved, we will write to the supporting government department or executive agency to confirm it meets our requirements and we agree the terms of the scheme as set out in their letter. They will then send you a copy of that letter.
Step 4: licensing When we have approved your scheme, you can apply for a sponsor licence under Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) GAE. If you apply before we have approved your scheme, your application will be rejected and your application fee refunded.