Once licensed, you will be given access to use the sponsorship management system (SMS). This online function lets you carry out day to day activities and report any changes to us, such as, a change of address. You will also use it to assign certificates of sponsorship (CoS) to migrants who wish to come to, or stay in the UK to work, and to fulfil your reporting duties for your sponsored migrants.
UKVI call a person who has access to the SMS a ‘user’. The SMS allows users 2 levels of access – ‘level 1’ and ‘level 2’. The level decides the type of access (permissions) the user has to the system and the functions they can perform, the ‘Level 1 user’ and ‘Level 2 user’ sections have more information.
Your SMS account is also a source of information about your sponsor licence. You can see details on how many SMS users you have appointed and who they are, the date your licence will expire, the number of CoS left to assign, and when your allocation of CoS will expire. Your SMS account also has a ‘message board’ where UKVI post useful messages.
You need to regularly access your SMS account to review and update your licence details and to keep up to date with the latest news and messages, and any changes that may be coming up. UKVI recommend that your level 1 user accesses your account at least once a month.
When UKVI grant your sponsor licence, UKVI set up your SMS account and send the level 1 user’s ‘user name’ to your authorising officer by post. UKVI send the level 1 user their password by email. Once your level 1 user has successfully accessed your SMS account, they can perform a number of functions. The ‘Level 1 user’ section has more information on this.
SMS users must never give their password to anyone else. If they do, UKVI will take action against you.
You can use the SMS on GOV.UK to:
- manage or renew your organisation’s licence or services
- create and assign certificates of sponsorship to prospective employees for Tiers 2 and/or 5
- report changes of circumstances of your sponsored employees or students, including withdrawal of sponsorship
You are responsible for your actions and the actions of a representative or employee who assigns CoS on your behalf. Any non-compliance with the rules on assigning CoS will result in us taking action against you. If UKVI find you are employing an illegal migrant worker because your recruitment practices are negligent, UKVI may issue you with a civil penalty and refer your case for prosecution. You must have at least one level 1 user who must be your employee in place throughout the life of your licence. If UKVI find you have no level 1 user in place at all, this means you cannot fulfil your sponsor duties and UKVI will take action against you. UKVI will also take action against you if you have no SMS users in place at all.
What happens if my circumstances change?
You must tell us of any changes to your details. UKVI may ask for more details and documents to support the change you are requesting.
Your level 1 user must use your SMS account ‘request changes to sponsor details’ function to:
- change your address
- change your name
- change your existing key contact or authorising officer details
- tell us about changes to your structure, such as more branches or sites, or new linked entities in the UK or overseas if you are licensed under Tier 2 (ICT)
- tell us if you are convicted of a relevant offence
- tell us about a change in the status of any registration by a governing body that you need to hold
- replace your authorising officer and/or key contact
- amend your organisation details, such as telling us of takeovers and mergers
- tell us that you have sold all or part of your business
- tell us of any other changes to your circumstances, such as adding or removing a representative or surrendering your licence
The following changes you report may automatically update your SMS account:
- your main, or head office address
- the address of your authorising officer, key contact, or level 1 user – if their new address matches your main or head office address, or the address of your representative for a key contact or level 1 user
UKVI will write to you if we are able to make these or any other changes automatically.
If you request a change to the name on your licence, UKVI will need to understand why you are changing your name because, in some circumstances, you may have to apply for a new licence. This could be if the only reason you are changing your name is because you are incorporating yourself for the first time, and nothing else is changing, we can change the name on your licence. If your change of name is part of a wider change, this could be if you are involved in a merger or takeover, you may have to apply for a new sponsor licence.
When you send in the changes UKVI will tell you what documents you must send to support your request. For some changes, such as replacing your authorising officer or surrendering your licence, you also have to sign a declaration. The ‘Reporting duties’ section has more information on the timescales for reporting changes to UKVI.
There are circumstances when you have to complete more than one action on the SMS. This could be if you tell us of a change of address, you may also need to tell UKVI of a change to the working address for your key personnel. You must request each change separately.