• Accessing the best talent and tackling ongoing recruitment challenges can be a difficult task. Many businesses are widening their search and seeking skilled workers from outside the UK. To do this, you will need a valid sponsor licence.

    Our business immigration team are here to offer valuable advice when it comes to securing a sponsor licence. We can help you get ready to recruit skilled foreign workers and fill important vacancies in your business, crucial in industries that are suffering a labour shortage post-Brexit.

    Having a sponsor licence provides you with a wide and dynamic talent pool, improved retention, employee diversity and helps you stay competitive amongst a growing trend in organisations hiring from overseas.

    The process of obtaining a sponsor licence can be complex, so we have summarised the key steps to help you understand what is involved.

    Becoming a licenced sponsor

    1. Check your business is eligible

    • Suitable HR systems to manage and monitor sponsored workers
    • Appoint Key Personnel to manage the online portal (SMS)
    • Supporting documents for your licence application

    2. Check your vacancies are suitable

    • Can you demonstrate 'genuine' vacancies?
    • Do the roles you offer meet the required skill level?
    • Are your pay scales in line with the minimum salary thresholds?

    3. Apply for a licence

    • Confirm annual staff numbers
    • Complete application form and collate supporting documents
    • Submit pay fee (£536 or £1,476) and allow eight weeks for a decision

    What happens next?

    If successful, your sponsor licence will be issued for four years. This can later be renewed.

    On selection of a suitable candidate, your sponsor licence will allow you to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to endorse employment and enable the candidate to apply for their work visa application.

    On grant of their visa application they may travel to the UK to start working or continue to work on a full-time permanent contract.


    Get in touch

    For further assistance with securing a sponsor licence, or ensuring you are compliant, contact Tijen Ahmet, Legal Director in our Employment, Pensions & Immigration team.

  • Sponsor licence compliance

    Immigration audit services

    As a sponsor licence holder, your organisation has various duties and legal obligations to fulfil. The Home Office, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) are conducting an increasing number of onsite compliance inspections so it is imperative you are prepared.

    Our team of immigration experts will support your organisation to prepare, achieve and maintain compliance of your sponsor licence/s to avoid cumbersome penalties. Our wealth of experience and insight ensures we offer a range of audit services designed for you. We will review and assess HR processes/policies and provide a practical action plan to ensure compliance with your legal obligations.

    Audit service bundles


    • Assessment of online portal and licence summary to identify any required updates.
    • Interviews with key personnel – Authorising Officer and Key Contact named on licence
    • Inspection of up to five sponsored employee HR records
    • Checklist report and basic action plan


    • Assessment of online portal and licence summary to identify any required updates
    • Support Level 1 user with SMS updates
    • Interviews with key personnel – Authorising Officer, Key Contact and one Level 1 user named on licence
    • Inspection of up to ten sponsored employee HR records
    • Review of pre-employment right to work checks on up to twenty employee files
    • Checklist report and action plan with high-level practical recommendations


    • Assessment of online portal and licence summary to identify any required updates
    • Support Level 1 user with SMS updates
    • Interview with key personnel – Authorising Officer, Key Contact and up to two Level 1/2 users named on licence
    • Interviews with up to two sponsored employees
    • Inspection of up to twenty sponsored employee HR records
    • Review of pre-employment right to work checks on up to thirty employee files.
    • Checklist report and feedback on sponsored employee files and pre-employment checks identifying any compliance issues
    • Comprehensive report identifying risk areas with expert advice and action plan/practical recommendations

    Additional services

    In addition to the compliance audit bundles, we offer a range of additional services that you can purchase as and when required.

    Policy review and drafting

    Reviewing or drafting HR policies covering recruitment, management and record keeping related to your sponsored employees. These act as both guidance for staff and to ensure your processes are compliant with legal obligations. Our expert employment team can assist with standard or more bespoke policies to ensure your organisation needs are met.

    Sponsor licence management

    Named as legal representative and level 1 user on your Sponsor Management System (SMS) to support with ongoing monitoring and compliance of your online portal. We can also support with drafting and assigning Certificate of Sponsorship, renewal of annual allocation and increases.

    Staff training 

    Our interactive and bespoke training outlines the law but also focuses on practical advice for HR and recruitment teams providing case studies and guidance for your organisation.

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