Employing migrant workers

Applying for a sponsor licence

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) is responsible for decisions about who can come to the UK. Read more about UKVI.

To apply for a sponsor licence you must:

  • check your business is eligible
  • choose the type of licence you want to apply for
  • decide who will manage the sponsorship within your business
  • apply online and pay the fee


To get a licence, you cannot have:

  • unspent criminal convictions for immigration offences or certain other crimes, eg fraud or money laundering
  • any history of failing to carry out your sponsorship duties

You will need appropriate systems in place to monitor sponsored employees.

UKVI will review your application form and supporting documents. They may visit your business to make sure you’re trustworthy and capable of carrying out your duties.

Types of licence

The licence you need depends on whether the workers you want to fill your jobs are:

  • Tier 2 - skilled workers with long-term job offers
  • Tier 5 - skilled temporary workers

You can apply for a licence covering either tier or both.

GOV.UK guidance on licences.

Managing the sponsorship process

You will need to appoint people within your business to manage the sponsorship process when you apply for a licence. The roles are:

  • authorising officer
  • key contact
  • level 1 user

These roles can be filled by the same person or different people.

GOV.UK guidance on assigning sponsorship roles.

Applying for your licence

You can apply online for your sponsor licence. You will need to print out the submission sheet at the end of the application to post to UKVI. You'll also need to send the correct supporting documents to prove you are a genuine business.

You will be required to pay the licence fee when you apply. GOV.UK guidance on sponsor licence fees.

After you apply for a licence

After you apply for a sponsor licence, you will be given a licence rating if you are successful. You will then be able to issue certificates of sponsorship if you have jobs that are suitable.

Your licence will be valid four years.

Read more on your sponsor licence rating.