Sponsor Licences –


Sponsor Licences allow UK companies to employ foreign workers. They are integral to the UK visa system, with most visas routes requiring the support of a sponsor organisation.

Home > UK Visas > Sponsor Licences > Overview

Quick Look

A Sponsor Licence allows UK companies to employ foreign workers.

All kinds of businesses use Sponsor Licences to hire the workers they need – in every sector and of all sizes. A business does not have to be a large multinational to qualify for a Sponsor Licence.

Sponsor Licences allow businesses to hire all kinds of workers, whether skilled or unskilled, temporary, or long-term. Some examples include the hiring of care workers for residential homes; seasonal workers hired to process vegetables; and highly-skilled individuals to fill executive positions. For more information about different kinds of Sponsor Licences, click here.

Costs vary, depending on the size of the sponsoring business and the kind of role to be filled by a foreign worker. Small businesses are required to pay relatively smaller fees than larger ones. Costs include those for the Sponsor Licence itself (from £536); Certificates of Sponsorship for each employee working under it (from £21); and an Immigration Skills Charge for businesses hiring skilled workers (from £364). For more details about Sponsor Licence fees, click here.

Sponsor Licences are valid for 4 years.

Sponsor Licences – Overview

UK businesses must obtain a Sponsor Licence from UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI), also known as the Home Office, before being able to hire foreign workers.

Successful applicants for Sponsor Licences are placed on the List of Registered Sponsors and are then permitted to assign Certificates of Sponsorship (COS) to qualifying candidates, enabling them to  make their visa applications to the Home Office. Provided that the individual is eligible for the particular visa they apply for, they have a good chance of their visa being granted, allowing them to work for the sponsoring company.

Sponsor Licence holders have a responsibility to manage their licence, once it has been issued by the Home Office. In order to remain compliant, and to maintain an A-rating, businesses must complete regular tasks relating to their licence and the employees working under it. A number of these tasks are made easier by using the UK government’s Sponsorship Management System (SMS).

Sponsor Licences give UK companies more control over who they can employ, allowing them to acquire the skills they need to function and grow.

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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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