How Long Does It Take To Get a Sponsorship Licence in the UK?

How Long Does It Take To Get a Sponsorship Licence in the UK?

What is a Sponsor Licence in UK?

A Sponsor Licence is what you will need as an employer to hire somebody from another country. This licence will be needed by your new employee to get their visa application through and therefore come and work for you.

This cannot be done without a Sponsor Licence!

A Sponsor Licence simply means that you are registered with the government so that they know that you are hiring from outside the UK and can make sure you are meeting all the requirements for doing so.

It is important to note that businesses and organisations are the ones who obtain Sponsorship Licences, not individual people.

Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS)

You must, as a licenced sponsor, keep an electronic record of all of the employees using a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).

A defined certificate is needed if you are going to bring in a foreign worker. You will need an undefined certificate however for an employee that is switching their visa to a different type.

The Certificates of Sponsorship are an important part of applying for a Skilled Worker visa so it is absolutely necessary that you provide this to your potential employee.

If you are asked for the certificate at any time and fail to produce it you could have your licence downgraded or even removed.

​How do you Become a Licenced Sponsor in the UK?

Applying to be a licenced sponsor is simple, just follow these steps:

  • Find out if your business will be eligible.
  • Find out if the job you are hiring for is suitable to be sponsored.
  • Decide which type of licence you are going to be applying for.
  • Choose who inside your business is going to be in charge of the sponsorship.
  • Finally, just apply on the website and pay the charge.

How to Match a Role to the Correct SOC Code.

Matching the job role you are looking for with the correct SOC code is not too difficult but you will need it to apply. You can access the ONS website and use the occupation coding tool. This should give your code.

Make sure to read the job descriptions though so as to make sure you have the criteria for the position correct and therefore the correct code.

What are the Requirements of a Sponsor Licence?

There are a few things you should check as you are going through the process of applying for your Sponsor Licence. This includes:

  • Making sure that the role you are recruiting foreign workers for is suitable for the sponsorship licence.
  • Deciding what type of licence you want. Temporary? Or do you want something more permanent?
  • Putting a Human Resources system in place so that you will be able o make sure someone is monitoring the sponsorship and making sure your organisation is meeting and continues to meet the necessary requirements.

If you are looking to get a Sponsorship Licence, you, as the employer must not have had a licence revoked in the past 12 months and/or have any unspent criminal convictions for immigration offences and certain other offences (e.g. fraud, money laundering).

Your staff will also be checked for certain things. You should make sure you have no members of staff that:

  • Spend most of their time outside of the UK
  • Be subject to a bankruptcy restriction
  • Have a history of non-compliance with Sponsorship requirements
  • Have broken the law
  • Have been reported to UKVI
  • Have failed to pay VAT or other excise duty
  • Be a contractor or consultant contracted for a specific project
  • Have unspent criminal convictions for immigration offences or certain other crimes, such as fraud or money laundering.
  • Had a sponsor licence revoked in the last 12 months.

Make Sure you Follow the Salary Guidelines

It is important to double-check that what you are going to be paying your potential future employee is correct. If you are not then you will either have your licence rejected by the Home Office when you apply or you will have your licence revoked.

If you are unsure what the minimum salary for a skilled worker is make sure you do research for the specific position that you are hiring for.

What Documents are Required for a Certificate of Sponsorship UK?

There are various bits of documentation you are going to need throughout this process. This list lets you know what you will need:

  1. Company accounts.
  2. Proof of VAT registration.
  3. A letter from your corporate banking provider, setting out the dealings it has had with you, including the nature and duration of those dealings.
  4. Proof of inspections and outcomes for relevant industries such as agriculture and healthcare.
  5. Business ownership and directorship proof.
  6. Evidence of trading locations.
  7. Proof that you are based in the UK.
  8. Proof that you are operating and trading lawfully in the UK.
  9. Certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.
  10. Job titles and Occupation Codes for the roles which you want to recruit foreign workers for.
  11. Depending on the status of your application and the circumstances, you may be asked to provide additional documents.
Visa Application On Laptop

How Long does it Take to Get a Sponsor Licence?

It can take around 2 months to hear back from the Home Office with a decision regarding your sponsorship application. It can even take longer sometimes if there are any kind of delays.

How Can I Get Sponsorship Fast?

The process can actually be accelerated if you are lucky. You might be able to choose to pay an extra fee of £500 to speed up the decision.

If you and your business are in particular need of urgent support this is actually recommended.

Do bear in mind that this additional £500 only speeds up the application for the Sponsorship Licence and not the future employee’s visa process.

The visa application process itself, which your potential employee will go through, takes longer. The wait time is currently up to around three months because of delays at the Home Office.

How Long is a UK Certificate of Sponsorship Valid?

Once you receive your Sponsorship Licence it will be valid for the next four years. This only changes if it is terminated by the employer before that time ends or if the licence is revoked by the Home Office.

Sponsor Licence Interview

What Can Cause Your Sponsorship Licence to be Revoked?

You can lose your Sponsor Licence if the Home Office believe that you have seriously broken the conditions of the licence.

You could have, broken the law, been convicted of an offence or given false information.

When you lose your licence you could also be fined and could face other penalties as a consequence of the breach of the conditions.

What Does Losing Your Licence Mean?

If your Sponsor Licence is taken away from you, the workers you are sponsoring will have 60 days left on their visa (unless the fixed-term ends before then)  and the Certificate of Sponsorship is cancelled.

This means that unless the worker can apply for and get a new visa in this time they will have to leave the UK once these 60 days are up.

If your employee is tangled up in the reason that you lost the sponsorship licence then they will have to leave the UK immediately.

If your employee is in the UK at the time:

Their circumstances

What will happen

If they have travelled to the UK but haven’t started work.

They can start work.

If they are already working.

They can keep working.

If they have applied to extend their visa.

Their application won’t be processed until the suspension ends.

If your employee has not arrived in the UK yet:

Their circumstances

What will happen

If they have applied for a visa.

Their application will be put on hold until the end of the suspension.

If they have a visa but haven’t travelled to the UK.

They will be contacted by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

After losing a sponsor licence you will not be able to obtain a new one for the next 12 months.

What Happens After Sponsorship Approval?

You are now approved. You can have your potential employees start the visa application process.

Do you Need Help Applying for your Sponsorship Licence?

That is what we are here for!

We are a UK immigration agency, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). We are proud members of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association.

To find out more about Synergy Immigration Solutions and our visa services, visit our website here.

To contact us, call us on 020 315 05359, email or fill in our online contact form here.

Click here to learn more about the Sponsor License and how we can help with your application.

Read articles on our blog here, to find the answers to frequently asked questions about topics such as the UK skills gap, right-to-work checks, and Skilled Worker Visas.

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