Five key points about the sponsor licence system

sponsor licence system

Brexit and covid together have led to an extreme shortage of talent for the UK businesses. The restrictions with the new points-based system that came into effect on 1 December 2021, the end of freedom of movement and covid has led to businesses suffering a lot as they couldn’t find appropriate employees to fill the positions. 

Sponsor licence became a trending term in the year 2020-2021 in the UK. All businesses were advised by the government to make their applications for the sponsor licence before the introduction of the new points-based system. 

As the end of freedom of movement has led to a shortage of talent in the talent pool that the EU provided, sponsor licence has become a necessity. 

Obtaining a sponsor licence is not easy at all. You cannot expect to just you know make a to-do list or checklist and go by it. You should take help from a good immigration solicitor.

The process is a complex one and requires you to have proper compliance systems in place including a special team to manage the sponsor licence management system and be a point of contact with the UKVI. 

According to the recent numbers, the number of registered sponsors under the UKVI has crossed 40,000. It was a steep hike as the number for the same in 2019 was less than 28000. 

Let’s discuss the 5 very important points that one should know about a sponsor licence:

  1. Online Applications: As we know you can make this application online on the government website. You can do this yourself or with the help of an immigration solicitor. However, we know the internet is not exactly a safe place itself.  But not only that there are numerous chances of error like paying the wrong amount is fees, wrong documentation format, etc which can lead to rejection of your application. You also cannot apply for a year then as the rejection will make you ineligible for the sponsor licence.
  2. Sponsorship categories: You should be aware that the sponsor licence has two major categories that are tier 5 and tier 2 (now skilled worker route). There are a lot of sub-categories under the two categories and hence is best to take legal help from an immigration solicitor.
  3. Criteria: Under this section, your documents and your HR and recruitment policies play a vital role. UKVI will conduct an in-depth investigation to check if you meet the suitability and eligibility criteria. They will also check your previous records and if you could actually provide adequate employment. 
  4. Process Time: The processing of a sponsor licence application generally takes 8 weeks. The process can get extended if the UKVI feels that they would like to make a pre-licence visit. Now the sponsor licence has become time-sensitive.
  5. Documents: The list of required documents can be found at You need to submit a minimum of four necessary documents to get your application processed. If you fail to submit your documents on time your application will be rejected without a second thought. 

We all understand that having a sponsor licence is quite important for any business in the UK. However, the new changes that have been implemented have also led to increasing in various fees and costs that are associated with the sponsor licence. So, before you go about making the application we would advise you to consult two people your accountant and an immigration solicitor. Your accountant to understand the financial standing of your firm and if you could actually bear the costs that are associated with the sponsor licence and hiring an overseas employee. An immigration lawyer can advise you accordingly as they can give you the estimated amount of what you would need or should have.


A sponsor licence is an important decision for a business. It is firstly not easy to get your application approved. Furthermore, it is an expensive process. It includes the application fees, salary for the overseas employee, compliance system setting charges, and many more. Not every business has the capacity for the same.

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