How Much Does a Sponsor Licence Cost?

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Expert Guidance for Sponsor Licence Fees

The realm of UK immigration law encompasses not only legal compliance but also financial management for businesses employing international talent. Understanding and managing the costs associated with a Sponsor Licence is essential for operational efficiency and budgetary planning – from the initial sponsor licences fees to ongoing compliance expenses.

Navigating the financial aspects of a Sponsor Licence requires detailed knowledge of the Home Office Sponsor Licence fee structure, additional costs and effective strategies for cost management. At Osbourne Pinner Solicitors, we specialise in providing comprehensive financial guidance to businesses in this critical area. Our team of experienced immigration sponsorship licence lawyers offers personalised advice on all financial matters related to your sponsorship. 

We help you understand the full scope of costs involved, advise on budgeting and financial planning and offer strategies to minimise expenses. Our goal is to ensure your business is well-prepared for the financial aspects of sponsoring international talent, with a clear understanding of your financial commitments.

Whether you’re applying for the first time, seeking to renew an existing licence or need assistance in managing ongoing costs, we’re here to support you.

For a complimentary and confidential discussion, contact us today at [email protected], 0203 983 5080 or use this form. Benefit from our 30-minute consultation at no cost and discover our tailored solutions and expertise in financial planning for Sponsor Licences.

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Sponsor Licence Costs: The Basics

UK businesses are increasingly recognising the value of diversifying their workforce by hiring skilled migrant workers. To legally employ individuals from outside the UK, companies must first obtain a sponsor licence. This licence is a cornerstone of the UK’s points-based immigration system, enabling businesses to sponsor and hire non-UK residents for specific job roles that cannot be filled by the domestic workforce.

The process of acquiring a sponsorship licence involves several steps, such as proving that the business is genuine and capable of meeting its sponsorship duties. These duties include ensuring that sponsored employees have the necessary skills for their job and that they comply with UK immigration rules and laws. The importance of a licence cannot be overstated, as it not only opens the door to a wider talent pool but also ensures that businesses can legally employ the skilled workers they need to thrive and grow.

However, obtaining and maintaining a sponsorship licence comes with its costs. As well as the initial sponsor licence application fee, there are ongoing expenses related to compliance, management of the licence and potentially legal sponsor licence fees for professional guidance. It is crucial for businesses to fully understand these costs to budget effectively and ensure a smooth application process. Awareness and careful planning can help avoid any unexpected financial burdens, ensuring that the benefits of hiring international talent are maximised.

Types of Sponsor Licences

In the UK, businesses looking to hire non-resident foreign workers must navigate the sponsor licence system, which is categorised into two main types – the Worker licence and the Temporary Worker licence. Understanding the distinctions between these licences is crucial for employers to ensure they apply for the one that best suits their needs.

The Worker licence is designed for businesses intending to hire foreign nationals for long-term positions. This includes roles that are part of the Skilled Worker route, which covers a wide range of job types and industries. It is particularly suited for positions where there is a genuine need for a non-resident migrant worker to fill a gap in the UK labour market. This licence also encompasses the Senior or Specialist Worker route under the Global Business Mobility (GBM) scheme, tailored for individuals transferring within a company or organisation.

On the other hand, the Temporary Worker licence caters to employers who need to hire foreign workers on a short-term basis. This licence covers various categories, including:

  • Creative and sporting roles
  • Charity workers
  • Religious workers
  • Those coming to the UK under government-authorised exchange schemes

It is ideal for sectors that require temporary positions to be filled by international talent, often for specific events or projects.

Choosing the correct type of licence is pivotal. While the Worker licence addresses long-term employment needs, the Temporary Worker licence is more flexible for short-term roles. Employers must assess their specific requirements against the criteria for each licence type to make an informed decision.

UK Sponsor Licence Costs

Navigating the financial aspects of obtaining a licence is a critical step for UK businesses wishing to employ migrant workers. The cost of applying for a sponsor licence varies depending on the type of licence and the size and charitable status of the organisation. Understanding these sponsor licence fees is essential for effective budgeting and financial planning.

Worker Licence Fees

For businesses seeking to hire foreign nationals for long-term roles, the sponsored Worker license is necessary.

  • The sponsor licence fee for this category is £536 for small or charitable sponsors.
  • In contrast, medium or large sponsors are required to pay a £1,476 sponsor licence fee.

This distinction underscores the importance of accurately determining your business’s size and status before applying.

Temporary Worker Licence Fees

The Temporary Worker licence, suitable for short-term employment needs, carries a uniform sponsor licence application fee of £536, regardless of the organisation’s size or charitable status (for a registered charity).

This makes it a comparatively straightforward option for businesses looking to fill temporary positions with international talent.

Combined Licence Fees

The classification of a business as small, medium or large significantly impacts the sponsor licence fee. A small sponsor is typically defined by the following criteria:
  • An annual turnover of £10.2 million or less
  • Total assets worth £5.1 million or less
  • 50 employees or fewer
Conversely, medium or large sponsors exceed at least two of these thresholds. A charitable sponsor is recognised as a registered charity within the UK, benefiting from the lower sponsor licence fee structure allocated to small sponsors. It is crucial for businesses to accurately assess their size, assets, annual turnover and charitable status to ensure the right sponsor licence fees are paid. Underestimating your organisation’s size could lead to application delays or rejections, while overestimating could unnecessarily increase your costs. Careful consideration and accurate classification can streamline the application process, ensuring that businesses can efficiently obtain the necessary licence to hire the talent they need from abroad.

Determining Your Business Size for the Sponsor Licence Application Fee

Organisations that require the flexibility to hire both long-term and short-term international staff may apply for both licences simultaneously. The fees for this combined application mirror those of the Worker licence – £536 for small or charitable sponsors and £1,476 for medium or large sponsors. This option provides businesses with comprehensive coverage for their sponsorship needs

Additional Costs Associated with Sponsor Licences

Securing a sponsorship licence is a pivotal step for any UK business aiming to employ a migrant worker. However, the application fee is just the beginning. Several additional costs are associated with maintaining a licence and fulfilling sponsorship duties. Understanding these costs is crucial for comprehensive budget planning.

Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

Once a licence is granted, businesses must issue a Certificate of Sponsorship for each foreign worker they intend to hire.

The CoS is a virtual document containing information about the job and the worker.

  • For Temporary Workers, the fee to assign a Certificate of Sponsorship is £25, making it relatively affordable to sponsor individuals for short-term employment.
  • However, for Workers under long-term routes, the fee increases to £239 per certificate of Sponsorship.

This significant difference underscores the additional financial commitment required for long-term sponsorship.

Immigration Skills Charge

Another considerable expense is the Immigration Skills Charge (ISC), levied on employers sponsoring Skilled Workers and Senior or Specialist Workers under the Global Business Mobility route. This charge is designed to encourage businesses to train and upskill the UK workforce.

  • For small or charitable sponsors, the ISC is set at £364 for the first 12 months, with an additional £182 for each subsequent six-month period.
  • Medium or large sponsors face a higher rate of £1,000 for the first 12 months and £500 for each additional six months.

This charge reflects the government’s push towards investing in the domestic labour market and can significantly increase the cost of sponsorship over time.

Priority Service Fees

For businesses needing a quicker decision on their UK sponsor licence application, a priority service is available at an additional cost of £500. This priority service promises a decision within ten working days, offering a valuable option for companies under tight deadlines. However, it’s important to note that while this premium service costs more, it does not guarantee a positive outcome and is subject to availability, as it is limited to a small number of sponsor licence applications each day.

While obtaining a sponsorship licence opens the door to hiring international talent, the associated costs extend beyond the initial application fee. Businesses must account for Certificate of Sponsorship fees, the Immigration Skills Charge and potentially fast-track decision fees. Careful financial planning and understanding of these additional costs are essential for effective budget management and compliance with sponsorship duties.

Sponsor Licence Cost Breakdown

Cost Type

Small or Charitable Sponsors

Medium or Large Sponsors

Sponsor Licence Application


Worker Licence



Temporary Worker Licence



Worker and Temporary Worker



Certificate of Sponsorship


Temporary Worker CoS

£25 (per CoS)

£25 (per CoS)

Worker CoS

£239 (per CoS)

£239 (per CoS)

Immigration Skills Charge


First 12 months



Each additional 6 months



Legal and Professional Fees

Applying for a sponsor licence involves navigating complex legal requirements and ensuring compliance with UK immigration laws. To facilitate this process, many businesses opt to engage legal professionals or immigration advisors. While this ensures a higher likelihood of application success and compliance with ongoing duties, it incurs additional legal and professional fees.

Legal Advisory Fees

Solicitor Working on Laptop

The cost of hiring an immigration lawyer or advisor varies widely depending on the complexity of your case and the level of service required. For a standard sponsor licence application, businesses might expect to pay between £1,000 and £5,000. This fee typically covers initial consultations, preparation of the application and advice on supporting documents. However, for more complex cases or those requiring extensive documentation and preparation, fees can be significantly higher.

Audit and Compliance Costs

Beyond the application, maintaining a licence requires adherence to ongoing compliance duties. Legal professionals can conduct audits of your HR systems to ensure they meet Home Office standards for monitoring and reporting. These audits, essential for demonstrating compliance during Home Office inspections, can cost anywhere from £2,000 to £4,000, depending on the size of your organisation and the complexity of your sponsorship activities.

Training Fees

To navigate the sponsor management system effectively and understand the responsibilities of sponsorship, businesses may also invest in training for their staff. Professional training services offer courses and workshops on managing a sponsor licence, with fees typically ranging from £500 to £1,500 per session.

Incorporating these legal and professional fees into your budget is crucial for a smooth sponsorship process. While they represent an additional investment, engaging experts can save time and resources in the long run by ensuring compliance and avoiding potential penalties or licence revocation.

Renewal and Management of Sponsor Licences

Maintaining a valid sponsor licence is an ongoing commitment that requires diligent management and periodic renewal. A sponsor licence is typically valid for four years, after which businesses must apply for renewal to continue employing non-UK residents. The renewal process is not only a regulatory requirement but also an opportunity to review and ensure compliance with sponsorship duties.

Renewal Fees

The cost of renewing a licence mirrors the initial sponsor licence fee. For a small or charitable sponsor, the renewal fee for a licence is £536. A medium or large sponsor will face a higher renewal fee of £1,476. It’s essential to budget for these costs well in advance of your licence expiry to avoid any disruption in your ability to hire migrant workers.

Effective Licence Management

To ensure ongoing compliance and avoid penalties, businesses must effectively manage their sponsor licence. This includes:
  • Keeping accurate records of sponsored employees
  •  Reporting any changes in their circumstances to the Home Office
  •  Ensuring that your organisation continues to meet the eligibility criteria for sponsorship.
Regular training for staff involved in the sponsorship process can help maintain awareness of these duties. Additionally, conducting internal audits of your sponsorship practices can identify any areas of non-compliance before they become issues. Engaging legal professionals for periodic compliance checks can also provide reassurance and help navigate any changes in immigration law or sponsorship requirements.

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Why Choose Osbourne Pinner Solicitors?

Expert Financial Guidance for Sponsor Licences

Understanding the financial implications of obtaining and maintaining a licence is crucial for businesses looking to hire international talent. At Osbourne Pinner Solicitors, we specialise in offering comprehensive financial guidance to navigate the costs associated with Sponsorship Licences effectively. From initial application fees to ongoing compliance expenses, our team provides the expertise and strategic advice necessary for successful financial planning.

Tailored Cost Management Strategies

Effective cost management is essential for the smooth operation of your Sponsor Licence. Our solicitors excel in developing tailored strategies to manage these costs, ensuring your business is well-prepared for all related expenses. From detailed breakdowns of potential fees to advice on minimising costs, we help you maintain financial stability while complying with Home Office requirements.

Support with Complex Financial Planning

The financial aspects of managing a Sponsor Licence can be complex, requiring detailed planning and understanding. Osbourne Pinner Solicitors is here to support your business, offering expert advice on all financial matters related to your Sponsor Licence. We navigate the complexities of sponsor licence costs on your behalf, from providing estimates for legal and professional fees to advising on budgeting for potential audits and compliance checks.

Transparent and Predictable Costs

We believe in transparency and predictability when it comes to legal fees. Osbourne Pinner Solicitors prides itself on our clear fixed-fee structure for Sponsor Licence cost management, providing you with certainty and clarity in your financial planning. This approach ensures you are fully aware of your financial obligations from the outset, with no surprises or hidden costs.

Specialised Financial Expertise for Sponsor Licences

Our dedicated team of immigration solicitors brings extensive experience in financial planning for Sponsorship Licences, ensuring your business navigates these expenses efficiently and effectively. We are committed to delivering optimal financial outcomes for your business and your international workforce

Commitment to Responsive Financial Advice

Facing uncertainties about Sponsor Licence fees can be stressful for any business. Our commitment to quick and responsive financial advice reflects our dedication to easing these concerns, ensuring you receive timely and accurate information on all cost-related queries. Our goal is to provide you with financial peace of mind, supporting your business through proactive and attentive service.

No Win, No Fee
Proven Success in Reinstating Licences
Free Initial Consultation
No Hidden Charges

Schedule Your Complimentary 30-Minute Consultation

Osbourne Pinner Solicitors provides expert financial guidance and strategic solutions for businesses navigating the costs of obtaining and maintaining a Sponsor Licence. Take advantage of our complimentary 30-minute consultation, offered both in-person at our London offices and via video call, to explore how we can support your Sponsor Licence applications and compliance.

Reach out to us today at 0203 983 5080 or via our online enquiry form to schedule your consultation and learn about our dedication to delivering successful outcomes in managing your Sponsor Licence costs efficiently.


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Sponsor Licence Fees FAQs

The application fee for a Sponsor Licence depends on your organisation’s size and whether you’re applying for a Temporary Worker or Worker. A small or charitable sponsor will pay £536, while medium or large sponsors are charged £1,476 for a Worker licence. The fee for a Temporary Worker licence is £536 for all organisations. Understanding these costs is crucial for effective budget planning.

Yes, maintaining a Sponsor Licence involves several ongoing expenses, including the cost of issuing Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS), which is £25 for Temporary Workers and £239 for Workers. Additionally, the Immigration Skills Charge, compliance audit costs and potential legal fees for professional advice can significantly impact your budget. Planning for these expenses is essential for financial management.

The renewal fee for a Sponsor Licence mirrors the initial sponsor licence application fee, depending on your organisation’s size and the type of licence. Renewal should be undertaken before your current licence expires, typically every four years. Timely renewal is critical to avoid any disruption in your ability to sponsor a migrant worker, ensuring continuous compliance with UK immigration laws.

Yes. To arrange your free 30-minute consultation with Osbourne Pinner Solicitors, contact us at 0203 983 5080 or through our online enquiry form. This consultation, available in-person or via video call, is an excellent opportunity to discuss your Sponsor Licence cost concerns and learn how we can assist in managing these expenses effectively.

The processing time for a Sponsor Licence application in the UK typically ranges from 8 to 12 weeks from the date of submission. However, this timeline can vary based on the volume of applications being processed by the Home Office and the complexity of your application. Businesses can opt for a fast-track service at an additional cost, which promises a decision within 10 working days, subject to availability and specific criteria.

Obtaining a licence in the UK requires careful preparation and adherence to the Home Office’s requirements. While the process is stringent, with a focus on compliance and the ability to carry out sponsor duties, it is not necessarily hard for businesses that are well-prepared. Success largely depends on providing accurate documentation, demonstrating a genuine need for a licence, and proving that your business is reliable, honest and capable of fulfilling its sponsorship duties.

A Sponsor Licence is typically valid for four years. Near the end of this period, sponsors must apply for renewal if they wish to continue employing non-UK residents under the points-based immigration system. It’s crucial to begin the renewal process well in advance of the licence’s expiry date to ensure uninterrupted ability to sponsor migrant workers. Failure to renew on time can result in the loss of your sponsorship privileges.

The responsibility for paying the Sponsor Licence application fee and associated costs, such as the Immigration Skills Charge and Certificates of Sponsorship, usually falls on the employer. However, arrangements can vary, and in some cases, the sponsored employee may agree to cover certain costs, such as the Immigration Health Surcharge or visa application fees, as part of their employment package. It’s important for UK employers and employees to clearly agree on who will bear these costs upfront.

they can prove their business is genuine, offer genuine employment that meets the skill level and salary requirements, and demonstrate they can fulfil their sponsorship duties. This includes a wide range of organisations, from large corporations to small businesses, charities, and educational institutions. The key is to ensure compliance with Home Office requirements and to maintain the ability to carry out the responsibilities associated with being a sponsor.