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 The Sponsorship scheme is operated by the Home Office. Its allos employers to apply for a ‘Sponsorship License’ to enable them to recruit workers from overseas. A license is required for all workers outside of the UK apart from Irish citizens.

There are different types of licences, the most commonly used being those for skilled or long-term employment and Intra-Company Transfers (replaced Tier 2.)

Eligibility requirements for a sponsorship licence

  • Must be a genuine, lawfully operating UK employer.
  • The employer will need to provide certain documentation to satisfy this. Acceptable documents are set out in Appendix A of the sponsorship guidance for employers (i.e. proof of registration with HMRC as an employer to pay PAYE & NI, liability insurance etc. usually 4 docs)
  • Not have any unspent criminal convictions for immigration offences or certain other crimes, such as fraud or money laundering
  • Not had a sponsor licence revoked in the last 12 months
  • Must be able to offer employment which meets the skill level and salary requirements, if applying under the Skilled Worker or Intra-Company routes.

Applying for a Sponsorship Licence

  • The application form is completed online on .gov. Takes 20-30 mins. This entails submitting…
    • Details about the Company… registration no, no of employees etc.
    • a business case covering things like why the Company is applying for a sponsorship license i.e. how it will benefit their workforce planning strategy etc. We can assist with writing these.
    • Information about the candidate and the role you are recruiting them for.
    • How many CoS they think they are going to need. Handy to have some spare if they think they will need to employ more migrants, but they must be able to justify the application with a solid business case.
  • Employers need to send all supporting documentation within 5 working days after making the online submission.
  • The employer’s authorising officer must submit the application form on the Company’s behalf, they can’t delegate this to a third party.

Who needs to be involved?

  • Before an employer applies for a sponsorship licence they need to identify who their key personnel will be.
  • 4 key personnel:
    • Authorising Office – most senior person in organisation responsible for recruitment of migrants and overall responsible for the licence. A company secretary is recommended. No access to SMS.
    • Level 1 User – carries out day to day responsibilities on SMS ie assigning CoS, informing minor changes to company or migrant details.
    • Level 2 User – fewer permissions than L1 but can assign CoS and report on worker activity.
    • Key Contact – main contact between Home Office and company. Queries about licence etc. No access to SMS.

Please note myHRdept cannot provide specific help and guidance with sponsorship queries, we can only provide general guidance around the process.

If you’re thinking of outsourcing your HR, payroll or employment law needs, why not contact myHRdept? Call us on 01628 820515, email us at to discuss your requirements, or contact us via our website and we’ll call you back.


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