Who Can Apply for a Sponsorship Licence?

Business Man Applying for a Sponsorship Licence

For organisations looking to employ overseas talent, applying for a sponsorship licence is essential. With this licence, you can sponsor workers to come to the UK and work for you. But who can apply for a sponsorship licence?

The Home Office has set out strict guidelines for companies submitting a sponsor licence application. You’ll need to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria, as well as other staff members who will be involved in sponsorship activities. Let’s take a look at who can apply for a sponsorship licence in more detail…

Do I need to apply for a sponsorship licence?

You won’t need a sponsorship licence to sponsor some specific groups of people. These are:

  • Citizens of Ireland
  • Settled or pre-settled migrants under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • Individuals with indefinite leave to remain in the UK

However, in any other case, you’ll need a sponsor licence. If you’re unsure about whether you need one, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Without a licence, you could face fines and prosecution for employing individuals who don’t have the right to work in the UK. You may also be prevented from applying for a sponsorship licence in the future.

Who can apply for a sponsorship licence?

To apply for a sponsor licence, you must not have unspent convictions for immigration offences or other related crimes, such as fraud. You also must not have had a previous sponsor licence revoked within the past 12 months.

Aside from your personal eligibility as an employer, you’ll also need to show that your organisation meets the requirements. You’ll need to show that the company is based in the UK, whether trading online or in a bricks-and-mortar premises, and that you’re trading in line with UK law. Where relevant, you’ll also need to show you have the appropriate planning permission or local planning authority consent for the type of business you manage at your trading address.

What are the other criteria for a sponsor licence UK?

Whilst it’s important to consider who can apply for a sponsorship licence, you should also think about what it takes to be successful in your application. It’s one thing to show that you and your company meet the basic criteria, but are you actually suitable to sponsor overseas workers? This is the question that the Home Office will be focusing on.

For example, you’ll need to ensure your organisation has the infrastructure to manage and monitor sponsored employees. The Home Office may conduct a sponsor licence compliance visit before and after approving your licence to make sure your business (particularly within recruitment and HR) is complying with the sponsor duties and regulations.

You’ll also need to assign eligible staff members to sponsorship management roles. They’ll use the Home Office portal, the sponsorship management system (SMS), to manage and record sponsorship activities. You and the staff you assign to these roles will all need to be vetted to ensure you’re eligible. Again, there are very specific criteria for these positions. For example, you must not have been reported to UKVI or fined by UKVI in the past 12 months.

You can view the full criteria on the gov.uk website.

Evidencing genuineness

Genuineness is another issue that the Home Office will consider when looking at your sponsor licence application. In essence, they’ll want to be sure that both the role and the candidate are genuine.

Genuine role

For example, for the skilled worker visa, the Home Office will need to see the role…

  • Actually exists
  • Is eligible for the relevant sponsorship route
  • Isn’t misleading, e.g., includes tasks for a lower or different skill level
  • Is appropriate for your organisation

Genuine candidate

They’ll also need to be sure that the candidate you’re sponsoring is genuine and suitable for the position. You should be able to show that they…

  • Have the qualifications and experience to successfully take on the sponsored job role
  • Genuinely intend to fulfil the sponsored role
  • Won’t take on other employment (unless otherwise permitted by their visa)

Sponsor licence guidance from experienced solicitors

It’s important to note that this blog post is for informational purposes only. If you’re aiming to apply for a sponsor licence, then it’s important to seek expert legal advice. Proving your eligibility can be challenging, and if your application is refused, you face a lengthy cooling off period before you can reapply. That can have drastic consequences for your business.

Instead of taking a leap of faith, seeking expert guidance and support sets your business up for approval. At Osbourne Pinner Solicitors, we can offer a 30-minute consultation to discuss your sponsor licence application. It’s no-fee and no-obligation, so there’s no requirement to continue further. To get the ball rolling, fill in the online form below. Alternatively, you can call us on 0203 983 5080, or email us at [email protected].

Please let us know what's on your mind. Have a question for us? Ask away.

Latest Updates

Browse by Category