This section aims to help prospective sponsors through the process of applying for a sponsor licence.
Our ten-step guide will give you an overview.
These tools are only designed to help you with your application. Before you apply, you must read the information in the How do I sponsor a migrant? section and the full sponsor guidance document, which you can download from the right side of this page.
You can also find the answers to some frequently asked questions below.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What requirement is there for the sponsor to speak English? Are interpreters available if required to go on site visits? There is no requirement for the sponsor to speak English. Interpreters are available to attend site visits if necessary.
- Where should I send my supporting documents and payment? The address that employers should send their supporting documents and payment to is included on the submission sheet that is issued and printed at the end of the online sponsorship licence application process.
When I apply for a sponsor licence, does my application cover all of the tiers?
Your application covers all the tiers you select when you complete the application form. We ask you to specify in which tiers you want to be a sponsor. The sponsor register is currently open for tiers 2, 4, and 5. You can select all three of these tiers if you wish.
If you decide to make an application only for one or two tiers and then need to extend your sponsorship to further tiers later on, you can do so by making a further application. There is no detriment to you in submitting your applications in this way.
- When and how will my documents be returned? The documentation will be returned at the end of the case working process by recorded delivery through Royal Mail post. If you want to receive your notification and documents by any other method, you should send in the appropriate pre-paid special envelopes with the initial package you send to the commercial partner.
- We have several subsidiaries in the United Kingdom. Do we have to register all of our United Kingdom subsidiaries together? No you can register in a number of ways. You might want to make your decision based on how the HR functions for each subsidiary are organised. You can register them all separately, as a group of branches or a combination of both. It is up to you to choose the solution that meets your needs and allows you to fulfil your sponsor duties.
- Is there a paper based form? No. All applications are made online.
- Why are the ratings published? The ratings are to help make the system as transparent as possible.
- What does it mean to be a B-rated sponsor? A B-rating means that you are a licensed sponsor but that there are areas where improvements or additional duties are required. To return to an A-rating you must pay for a tailored action plan and meet all the requirements we out in that plan.
If we have a head office in the United Kingdom do we have to apply for a single licence to cover all our branches?
It is not a requirement that your head office has to make an application on behalf of the whole organisation. If your organisation is made up of several branches, it is possible for each branch to apply for a separate licence or for a group of branches to apply for a licence together.
You must decide which model is best for you, there is no single 'right way' and the system has been left flexible to accommodate all the different permutations of how organisations are structured. This is covered in more detail in the guidance for sponsors.
- What convictions do I have to disclose on the application form? A spent conviction does not have to be disclosed. All other convictions should be disclosed.
How can I decide on the number of certificates of sponsorship to request?
The number of certificates of sponsorship requested should be based on:
- the number of migrants you have typically sponsored in during previous years; and
- the number of migrants you are currently sponsoring who may need to extend their stay; and
- any planned recruitment activity.
If you underestimate the number of certificates you need, may be able to apply for an increase to your allocation.
Why do I need to specify the number of certificate of sponsorship that I will need in the licence application?
Limiting the number of certificates of sponsorship you can issue will help us manage risk.
If you discover at a later date you need to increase the number of certificates of sponsorship you can issue, you may be able to apply for an increase to your allocation.
When does the duration of the licence begin?
The licence will last for four years unless it is withdrawn or surrendered before then. The licence begins on the date that the licence was granted.