Sponsor Licence Requirements and Responsibilities

Applicants should be aware of what will be expected of them by UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI), in order to be compliant and maintain an A-rated Sponsor Licence.

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A quick look

Sponsor Licences require regular management, though not daily. Sponsors must appoint an Authorising Officer who will manage the duties relating to the licence. This person is often a company director or in a senior HR role and should be able to fulfil their responsibilities as an Authorising Officer along with their usual role within the company.

Yes. This allows smaller businesses, with few existing employees, to manage their Sponsor Licences.

UK Visas & Immigration have the authority to downgrade or revoke Sponsor Licences that are not being managed properly.

Sponsor Licence Requirements and Responsibilities

Sponsors are required to complete regular tasks relating to their licence and the employees working under it. This is important in remaining compliant with UK Visas & Immigrating (UKVI), so as not to have a Sponsor Licence downgraded. We have a webpage where you can learn more about Sponsor Licence ratings.

New guidance was introduced in 2023, which provided new details.

  • There is now a requirement for sponsors to report a change of work location when a sponsored worker moves into a ‘hybrid working pattern’ via the Sponsor Management System.
  • Sponsors must notify the Home Office if a sponsored worker has been absent from work without permission for more than 10 consecutive days. 
  • Certain reported changes will be automatically approved, including the replacement of the Authorizing Officer or Key Contact. 

Authorising Officer

To ensure that these tasks are properly managed, UK Visas & Immigration require that sponsors appoint an Authorising Officer. The role often falls to a senior person within the company that usually deals with recruitment, whether an HR manager or company director. The Authorising Officer will be responsible for ensuring that sponsorship duties are complied with. They will be the primary user of the government’s Sponsor Management System (SMS).

Level 1 User

To support the Authorising Officer, it is also necessary to appoint a Level 1 User. They will have access to the SMS and will complete tasks relating to the licence, such as requesting and assigning Certificates of Sponsorship (COS) and reporting changes.


Sponsors must diligently check the authenticity of documents provided by potential employees. It is their responsibility to ensure that workers have the necessary skills, qualifications and professional accreditations needed to fulfil a given role.

Sponsors must keep copies of relevant documents for each sponsored employee. This includes copies of passports and right to work information.

Should UKVI audit a sponsoring organisation and find that they do not have up-to-date records for their sponsored employees, they may have their Sponsor Licence downgraded or revoked.


Sponsors must monitor sponsored employees, ensuring that they continue to work within the terms of their particular visa.

Employees’ attendance must be tracked and recorded and consistent unauthorised absences must be reported to UKVI.

If there are any issues regarding sponsored workers, sponsors are encouraged to report them to UKVI as soon as possible.

If an employee is found to be breaking the terms of their particular visa, a sponsor company may have their licence downgraded or revoked – particularly if UKVI have reason to believe that it was due to a failure to monitor appropriately.

Reporting Changes

Sponsors must report significant changes to the business itself. This must be done within 20 days, in order to be compliant with UKVI rules. These changes would include:

  • Business insolvency
  • Substantial changes to the nature of business
  • Involvement in a merger or take-over
  • A change of address
  • A reallocation of roles that may affect sponsors

These changes can be reported using the Sponsorship Management System (SMS).

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The information contained on this page is sourced from UK Visas and Immigration and is subject to change. While Woodcock Law Limited makes every effort to keep this information current, prices and information cannot be guaranteed and should always be checked on www.gov.uk.

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