Does My Business Need a Sponsor License?

A sponsor license is a type of permit that allows a company based in the UK to employ migrant skilled workers either based overseas or already living in the UK. An approved sponsorship license is valid for four years after which you have the option to renew it. 

However, does your business need a sponsor license? This and many more questions will be answered in this post. Dive in and let’s go!

Also Read: Conseuqnces of Driving with a Suspended License

Do You Need a Sponsor License?

As a company based in the United Kingdom, you will need to apply for, and get a UK sponsor license if you intend to employ a skilled migrant worker from anywhere outside of the UK that does not have a legal right to work in the UK. This includes those offering unpaid labor such as volunteering for charity work.

According to new guidelines released from January 2021, this includes companies looking to hire EU citizens from countries like Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Iceland that arrived in the country after 31 December 2020. However, you may not need to get this license to hire the following categories of workers

  • Irish citizens
  • Immigrants with a settled or pre-settled status based on the EU settlement Scheme
  • That have an indefinite leave to stay in the country

Eligibility for a Sponsor License

For an organization to be eligible to apply for a sponsor license, it has to fulfill the following requirements:

  • Be operating lawfully in the UK: your business has to be registered and trading lawfully in the country. You do not need multiple licenses for a company with more than one branch in the country. A single license will cover all the company’s branches.
  • Must be registered with the appropriate body: for your sponsor licence application to be approved, you have to provide proof that your business and all its branches are duly registered by relevant bodies.
  • Registration with the local planning authority: you will need to provide proof that your business holds the necessary permits from the local planning authority at your location.

In addition to these requirements, your application has to convince the home office that your business is capable of providing genuine employment to skilled workers and that you pay wages according to the approved salary rate. Applying for a sponsor license means you are pledging to accept the responsibility of being a sponsor license holder. This includes having all the appropriate systems in place for monitoring sponsored employees.

Who Cannot Apply for a Sponsor License?

To qualify to apply for a sponsor license, the business owner must not have any criminal record, especially on immigration-related offenses, money laundering, or fraud. Companies that have had their sponsor license revoked within the past year due to various offenses are also not allowed to apply.

Your application for a sponsor license and all the supporting documents you submit will be reviewed by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). A visit may also be scheduled to your business to ensure that your business is capable of carrying out its duties as a sponsor license.

Can Private Individuals Apply for a Sponsor’s License?

Only businesses that operate in the United Kingdom are allowed to apply for a sponsor license. However, a sole trader who wants to sponsor a migrant worker to work for their business can also apply for this license.

What is a Sponsor License Rating?

There are two main types of sponsor licenses. You may be awarded an A-rating or a B-rating. Successful applications are awarded an A-rating license by the home office. This shows that your business has met all the requirements to fulfill its sponsor duties. 

To maintain this rating, a sponsor must continually maintain compliance with requirements by following all laid down policies and standards. Failure to do this and the company will be downgraded to a B-rating which is a sort of probationary rating that gives the company limited time to regain its A-rating or have the sponsor license revoked. However, the Home Office may skip this stage and simply revoke a company’s license if a serious infringement is discovered.


If you wish to hire skilled migrant workers for your business, then you must apply for a sponsor license and get approval. This application can be submitted online along with important supporting evidence of your trading presence in the UK and other relevant information. You can seek the help of a local immigration lawyer to help you navigate the application process and assist you with getting the approval you need.

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