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Sponsorship Licence Guidance for Employers and Educational Providers

Sponsor Licence Guidance for Enterprises & Educational Institutions

Both a business and an educational provider must hold a sponsor licence in order to sponsor migrants and students to work & study in the respective institutions. 

There are different requirements for both enterprises and educational providers must provide in order to apply for a sponsor licence.

The purpose of the sponsor licence is to entrust the organisation to ensure the person being sponsored meets the requirements and has the intention to work or study in the UK. 

Understanding the sponsorship program 

The purpose of the sponsor licence program is to allow an organisation the ability to issue a virtual sponsorship document in order to apply for an immigration program. Where an organisation is allowed by the UK Home Office to issue a sponsorship, they are referred to as approved sponsors. 

As an approved sponsor, you would be able to issue a Certificate of Sponsor (CoS) or a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS). This is then required for the person being sponsored to use as part of their immigration application.

In some instances, a visa application is not required, and a person would need this when entering the UK. 

There are a number of sponsorship routes that are available for enterprises and educational providers which includes but are not limited to worker routes, temporary worker routes and students.

Some other immigration programs require sponsorship to be offered as part of their entry or visa application, which includes business visas. 

Applying for a sponsor licence

The Home Office has now moved to digital platforms and requires an enterprise and an educational provider to apply for the sponsor licence online. 

Whilst the online application remains a straightforward process, the evidence and information required to apply for the licence are important factors when applying for the sponsor licence. 

A representation submission document is advisable when making the application for a sponsor licence. If you use ICS Legal to help apply for your sponsor licence, we will conduct the checks and prepare the representation document. 

Educational and academic sponsor licence

The Home Office allows education providers to permit international students to come and study in the UK. Both the student and child student visa programs allow students to follow a course that is at an appropriate level. 

In doing so, a sponsor licence is required to ensure they are sponsored under the sponsorship program. Some educational organisations are not permitted to apply for a sponsor licence. The educational sponsor licence is broken into 2 parts. 

Enterprise sponsor licence including workers and temporary workers

As a business, you are permitted to apply for a sponsor licence. However depending on the nature of your business, there are requirements to be met prior sponsoring any migrants to come and live in the UK. 

Evidence and documents required for a sponsor licence

As part of an application to become an approved sponsor licence holder, an organisation is required to provide evidences to support the application. 

The nature of the evidences differs between organisations. For an enterprise, they would be required to provide strong financial evidences whereas an educational provider is required to prove they are accredited as an institution. In all cases, as the Home Office continuously updates the specified evidences, therefore it is important to check those prior to lodging your application for a sponsor licence. 

Costs of a sponsor licence application

The sponsor licence costs also depends on the type of organisation and require fees relevant based on the type of application you would be applying for. 

Decision-making periods of a sponsor licence application

It's ever important for organisations to make sure all the correct information and evidence are provided at the date of application. This will ensure that the decisions are not delayed and are made on time.

In most cases, a sponsor licence application is decided within 8 weeks of lodging your application and sending the evidence required.

There is also a priority service available at the date of application as this would fast-tracked the decision making. 

Challenging refusal or revocation of a sponsor licence

The Home Office may refuse or revoke a sponsor licence. There are occasions where an organisation can also surrender their sponsor licence. In doing so, there are procedures that you are required to follow.

When a sponsor licence is refused, there are limited rights to challenge against a decision. As an organisation, you may be part of a cooling-off period that you need to adhere to prior to making a subsequent application. In some instances, the cooling-off period is not applicable. 

Learning more about your responsibility as an approved sponsor licence holder

As an organisation, applying for and holding a sponsor licence, comes with guiding principles that are set out by the Home Office. 

You must comply with directions and ensure there is a robust HR system in place to manage and monitor all migrants and non-migrants within your organisation.

Whether you are an enterprise or an educational provider, you would be required to adhere to applicable laws in the UK. This is not limited to UK employment laws or preventing illegal working. 

The Home Office expects all sponsors to be responsible and ensure they are compliant to all the requirements of holding a sponsor licence. 

Sponsor management system (SMS)

Once a sponsor licence is approved, an enterprise and an educational provider will be given access to the licenced platform to issue both the CoS and CAS. 

The sponsor management system also referred to as the SMS, permits individuals to issue the documents and allows migrants to use those to make appropriate visa applications. 

Getting ICS Legal to help on the sponsor licence application

We can help and support your organisation to apply for a sponsor licence. Please contact our team on 020 7237 3388 or email us at info@icslegal.comFind more information of how we can help and our services by clicking here.

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