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You must apply to the Home Office to become an approved sponsor to employ specialist and skilled staff from overseas. This includes workers from the EU if they are not already residing in the UK by 31 December 2020.

At Aaron & Partners, not only do we advise you on how to become a licenced sponsor but offer a bespoke service to ensure that you apply under the relevant category. Understanding the type of licence and relevant categories can be a complex area, our team works with you to understand your business needs and help you obtain the objectives.

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What type of licence is required?

The licence you require depends on the nature of your business and the type of worker you wish to employ. You may need to employ specialist staff for a long-term position or a temporary worker. You can apply for a licence covering one or more categories of workers.

  • Skilled worker
  • Intra-company
  • Minister of Religion (Tier 2)
  • Sportsperson (Tier 2)
  • Creative or Sporting Worker (Tier 5)
  • Charity Worker
  • Religious Worker (Tier 5)

What are your obligations as an employer?

The Home Office sponsor licence team will review your application and supporting documents and grant the sponsor licence if they are satisfied that you are a genuine business and require a sponsor licence to fill a vacant position. You are normally granted a licence within 8 weeks of submission of your application, which may be delayed if they decided to visit your business to make sure you are aware of your role and responsibilities as a sponsor.

You will need to ensure that you have appropriate systems in place to monitor sponsored employees and fulfil your record-keeping duties. Our team will advise you on how to become a trustworthy sponsor and we offer an auditing service to ensure that you are complaint and have appropriate infrastructure in place.

Changes to business or migrant circumstances

As an approved sponsor you will be required to report any significant changes to your business or any change of circumstances for your sponsored workers. This must be done using the Sponsor Management System within the specified period. Changes in circumstances may include:

  • Change in nature of your business
  • A merger or take-over
  • You stop trading or become insolvent
  • The employee ceases to work

How long is a sponsor licence valid?

Your business will be granted a sponsor licence for 4 years unless it is revoked by the Home Office for failing to comply with sponsor duties. You can add categories to your existing licence using the Sponsor Management System.
You must renew your licence before expiry should you wish to continue to sponsor migrant workers.

What is the fee for a sponsor licence?

You will need to pay a fee when submitting the online application to become an approved sponsor. The fee depends on the type of licence you are applying for and the nature of your business. The fee for a small or charitable sponsor is £536, and £1,476 for medium or large sponsors.
You are normally a small sponsor if two of the following are applicable to your organisation:

  • You employ 50 or fewer workers
  • Your annual turnover is £10.2 million or less
  • Your total assets are worth £5.1 million or less

You are a charitable sponsor if you are either:

  • An excepted, exempt or a registered charity
  • An ecclesiastical organisation established for charitable purposes

Refusal of a sponsor licence application

We are able to assist you in applying for a request to review your application depending on the reasons for refusal, or you may need to wait for 6 months before re-submitting your application. We therefore recommend in seeking specialist from our team to avoid refusal of the application.

Additional support to your business

We appreciate that circumstances may change very quickly within your organisation and your needs can change accordingly. Our aim is to build a long-term relationship with you by offering a dedicated service giving you access to our specialist team who will furnish bespoke advice to answer your queries. We will also update you of all changes in immigration law that may impact your business and migrant workers.

Speak to our business immigration experts

If you are exploring your options for a visa or require international business advice, our highly experienced solicitors will assist you in exploring all your options. We advise businesses and individuals, including executives and senior management teams on all aspects of business immigration including visas. You can get in touch by completing the form below.

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Key Contact

Adam Haines

Adam Haines

Employment Law and Business Immigration Partner


Adam is a partner and specialist employment lawyer with experience advising on all aspects of employment law from the beginning to the end of the employment relationship and business immigration.