Sponsorship Licence

A sponsorship licence is essential for UK businesses looking to employ foreign nationals (including EU nationals who do not have permission to stay under the EU Settlement Scheme) under work routes such as the Skilled Worker visa, Scale Up visa, and Global Business Mobility routes. It allows employers to fill skills gaps with talented migrant workers. However, obtaining and managing a sponsorship licence can be complex and comes with various responsibilities.

Types of Sponsorship Licences


There are two main types of sponsorship licences: the ‘Worker’ sponsor licence and the ‘Temporary Worker’ sponsor licence. The ‘Worker’ sponsor licence enables employers to recruit overseas nationals for various skilled employment types, whether short-term, long-term, or permanent. On the other hand, the ‘Temporary Worker’ sponsor licence is for recruiting migrant workers on a temporary basis.

Worker Sponsor Licence Routes

The 'Worker' sponsor licence is further divided into four routes:

  • Skilled Worker Route: This is the main route for overseas nationals wanting to work in the UK. Employers must offer genuine employment that meets the required skill level and salary requirements. Successful applicants can apply for a Skilled Worker visa.
  • Senior or Specialist Worker Route: This route is for senior employees or specialists with exceptional talent. It allows employers to recruit individuals with unique skills and expertise.
  • Minister of Religion Route: Designed for religious workers who wish to work in the UK, this route requires sponsorship from a religious organization.
  • International Sportsperson Route: This route is for elite athletes and sportspeople who have been endorsed by the relevant sports governing body.
Temporary Worker Sponsor Licence Routes
The ‘Temporary Worker’ sponsor licence covers specific types of temporary employment, including:
  • Scale-up Worker Route: Enables employers to recruit overseas workers for the first 6 months of their initial 2-year grant of leave. After 6 months, sponsorship is no longer required.
  • Creative Worker Route: For individuals working in the creative and cultural sector, such as actors, dancers, and musicians.
  • Charity Worker Route: Allows charities to bring in overseas workers for specific charitable work.
  • Religious Worker Route: Designed for religious workers undertaking non-pastoral roles within religious organizations.
  • Government Authorised Exchange Route: Facilitates exchanges and training programs for sponsored workers.
  • International Agreement Route: For workers employed under international agreements, such as diplomatic staff.
  • Seasonal Worker Route: Allows employers in the edible horticulture sector to recruit seasonal workers.
  • Global Business Mobility Routes: Various routes under the GBM umbrella, including Graduate Trainee, Service Supplier, UK Expansion Worker, and Secondment Worker.

Work Visas Requiring Sponsorship Licence

In most cases, recruiting a migrant worker requires a sponsor licence. This applies to the Skilled Worker route, Minister of Religion route, International Sportsperson route, and various Global Business Mobility and Temporary Worker routes. However, the Scale-up route only requires sponsorship for the initial 6-month period, after which sponsorship is not mandatory.

Selecting the Right Sponsorship Licence

The type of sponsorship licence needed depends on the nature of the work offered and the organization’s ability to meet specific requirements. For example, the Skilled Worker sponsor licence is required for sponsoring overseas nationals under the Skilled Worker route. It is crucial to ensure that the employment meets the required skill level and appropriate rates of pay.

Eligibility for a Sponsorship Licence

To be eligible for a sponsor licence, the organization must be genuine and operating lawfully in the UK. The individuals responsible for the business’s day-to-day operations and key personnel named in the licence application must not have any unspent criminal convictions for immigration offences or certain other crimes. The organization should have appropriate systems in place to carry out its sponsorship duties.

Sponsorship Licence Requirements

General requirements for a sponsor licence include being a genuine and lawful organization capable of meeting sponsorship duties. However, there are also route-specific requirements depending on the type of workers being recruited. For example, to sponsor a skilled migrant worker on the Scale-up route, the organization must meet the definition of a qualifying scale-up sponsor.

Applying for a Sponsorship Licence

Applying for a sponsorship licence requires proving that the organization is genuine and operating lawfully in the UK. The application process involves completing an online application, providing supporting documentation, and demonstrating compliance with the necessary requirements. Failure to submit all required documents may lead to delays or rejection of the application.

Cost and Duration of Sponsorship Licence

The cost of a sponsor licence varies depending on the type of licence. For the ‘Temporary Worker’ route, the application fee is £536, with an additional fee of £21 for each assigned Certificate of Sponsorship. The fee for a ‘Worker’ sponsor licence depends on the organization’s size and charitable status, ranging from £536 for small or charitable sponsors to £1,476 for medium or large sponsors. Sponsor licences are typically valid for 4 years, with the possibility of renewal.

Sponsorship Licence Compliance and Management

Managing a sponsorship licence requires ongoing compliance with duties and responsibilities. These include record-keeping for sponsored workers and timely reporting of changes in circumstances through the Sponsorship Management System (SMS). Non-compliance with sponsor licence duties can lead to penalties, downgrading, suspension, or withdrawal of the licence.

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How We Can Help

At Amicis Legal Services Ltd., we specialize in business immigration and can assist with all aspects of the UK sponsorship licence. Our team of immigration lawyers and former Home Office personnel can support you in applying for a sponsor licence, renewing an existing licence, managing compliance duties, and providing guidance on the necessary steps and requirements. For expert assistance, please contact us at

  • info@amicislegal.com

  • 03316300380