uk visa enquiry
UK Visa

Sponsorship Licence

Do you need to apply for a Sponsorship Licence?

Speak to our experts to find out about our fast, friendly and affordable service

UK Sponsorship Licence Applications & Guidance

What is a UK Sponsorship Licence?

A sponsorship licence is required if you are looking to employ someone from outside the UK to work for your business or organisation.

There is mainly 3 categories of UK Sponsorship Licence :

  • Skilled workers - this includes Health and Care Workers

  • Intra Company Transfer

  • Tier 5 (Temporary workers)

Sponsoring a migrant does not necessarily mean that they will be allowed to work in the UK. They will need to apply for a UK visa and fulfill the necessary requirements.

Who can apply for a UK Sponsorship Licence?

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 UK Sponsorship License can be gained.

We strongly recommend that organisations seek advice before making the application. If your application is refused, the organisation will not be allowed to submit an application again for 6 months.

What happens next?

Once the application is submitted with the evidence relevant to your organisation, the Home Office will review the evidence, and may visit the organisation (Visits are currently suspended due to COVID) 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 - it is valid for 4 years. After the UK Sponsorship Licence is granted, the organisation can request and assign the relevant Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).

Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

A Certificate of Sponsorship is an electronic record and not a physical document. Each certificate of sponsorship has its own number which the migrant can use to apply for a UK visa.

There are 2 types of CoS; Undefined and Defined.

An Undefined Certificate can only be assigned to the migrant employee if they are already inside the UK. The Resident Labour Market Test requirement has been removed under the skilled worker rote, however, when issuing the Certificate of Sponsorship, the Home office (UKVI) can always request you to justify why you want to recruit a particular person.

When the employer applies for a UK sponsorship license, they will be asked to estimate how many Certificate of Sponsorships they will need and they will need to provide detailed justification for their request. The employer can apply for any number of undefined sponsorship certificates, depending upon their business needs. However, the employer will need to provide evidence to show why they need the amount of certificates they have asked for.

A Defined Certificate is mainly assigned to foreign migrant employees coming from outside the UK. A CoS can now be issued without conducting a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT), however, the Home Office comes back with a set of questions which will need to justify the requirement for the role and how did the company decide to hire a particular individual, generally the organisation will need to send a response within 10 working days.

The sponsor company must apply for defined certificates through the Sponsorship Management System (SMS). The company gets this certificate after it is granted the sponsor license. Defined Certificates are allotted after they are requested from the Sponsor Management System.

All applications for defined certificates are considered generally within two weeks. If your application is approved, you can see your defined certificate in your SMS account on the allocation date. After this, you can assign a certificate to a worker. You can apply again in case if your application is rejected.


The certificate of sponsorship is valid for a period of 3 months from the date of issue under a Skilled Worker or T 5 category. However, the CoS can be issued for 6 months or over to a maximum period of 5 years. Note that salary requirements will differ according to the period the CoS is issued for.

Other key points to consider are:

  • Your Certificate of Sponsorship must include the same details as in your passport

  • It must be assigned to you by your sponsor no more than three months before the date you apply

  • Your certificate of sponsorship must not have been withdrawn by your sponsor or the Home Office (UKVI)

  • If you don’t use your Certificate of Sponsorship within three months of your sponsor assigning it to you, it will run out

Since January 2021, you are required to pay a minimum salary of £25,600 or £20,480 per annum depending on whether the job is listed under shortage occupation or health and care worker. In any other case, the salary requirement must meet the Appendix Skilled Occupation Codes

If you need to know more about UK Sponsorship Licence or need expert immigration advice, contact us now.

Do you need to apply for a Sponsorship Licence?

Speak to our experts to find out about our fast, friendly and affordable service

about-image about-image about-image about-image about-image
Visa and Migration is a private OISC regulated company (F201500999) and is not an official Government body. If you would like to prepare and submit your UK immigration application yourself you can do so by visiting the UKVI website.