Any organisation or educational institution can apply for a sponsorship licence, provided they meet the relevant requirements. The organisation can be an independent business, franchise, or a newly-acquired business. Each organisation will have a different set of requirements that must be met before a Sponsorship License can be gained. We strongly recommend that organisations seek advice before making the application, because if your application is refused, the organisation will not be allowed to submit an application again for 6 months.
Once the application is submitted with the evidence relevant to your organisation, the Home Office will review the evidence, and in most cases they visit the organisation in order to verify whether the organisation is compliant with the requirements. You should seek advice in order to confirm what compliance requirements should be met by your organisation. Once the compliance requirements have been met, the Sponsorship licence will be granted which will be valid for 4 years. After the Sponsorship Licence is granted, the organisation can request and assign the relevant certificate of sponsorship (SoC).
There are 3 categories of Sponsorship License:
Tier 2 (Skilled workers, intra company transfers, sportsperson, minister of religion)
Tier 4 (Adult students, children)
Tier 5 (Temporary workers)
In order to hire a worker or sponsor a student from inside or outside the UK or European Economic Areas, the employer or educational institution must have a Sponsorship Licence from the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI).
Certificate of Sponsorship (COS)
There are 2 types of CoS:
Unrestricted (CoS) can only be assigned to the migrant/employee already inside the UK. They will be required to take a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) if the migrant is already in the UK on a Tier 2 Visa, and they will need to issued with a Certificate of Sponsorship under the change of circumstances category, which is unrestricted COS.
Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is mainly assigned to foreign employees/migrants coming from outside the UK. A CoS cannot be issued without conducting a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) that is advertising the role for 28 days’ period in a specified manner.
Validity of Certificate of Sponsorship
The certificate of sponsorship is valid for a period of 3 months from the date of issue under a Tier 2 or Tier 5 category. However, the COS can be issued for 6 months or over to a maximum period of 5 years, however, the salary requirements will differ according to the period the COS is issued for.
Salary and Allowances
From April 2015 you will be required to pay a minimum salary of £20800.00. In any other case, the salary requirement must meet the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Codes.