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Applying for a Sponsor Licence

Blacks Solicitors’ specialist Business Immigration team provide clear, cost-effective advice to businesses throughout the UK.

Blacks’ understand that hiring the right person for the job is central to any company’s success; however, immigration is a complex and fast-changing area of law and businesses face ever increasing challenges when looking to recruit foreign workers.

As an employer, if you want to recruit someone from outside of the EU then you will need a Sponsor Licence. Once you have a Sponsor Licence you will be allocated a Certificate of Sponsorship, which you can assign to the migrant and which allows the migrant to apply for his or her Visa.

From 2021 the sponsorship system is set to expand, so that employers will need a Licence in order to recruit EU nationals.

However, applying for a Sponsorship Licence is not a straightforward process and rejections and refusals of applications are commonplace.

In making an Application, employers need to show that they have a genuine need for a Licence, that it can fulfil its duties and responsibilities as a Sponsor Licence Holder, and be familiar with voluminous Home Office guidance.

There are various categories of sponsorship under the Points-Based System:

Tier 2 General

This is the most widely used category for skilled or highly skilled migrants looking to work in the UK on a long-term basis.

In general, only jobs considered highly skilled (or in some cases skilled) are capable of sponsorship and there are various minimum pay thresholds depending on the nature of the role and the migrant filling that role.

In most cases, employers can only sponsor migrants in this category if no suitable ‘settled worker’ can be found.

Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer

Allows employees of multinational companies to be transferred to a UK branch to fill a specific vacancy.

Tier 2 Minister of Religion

Allows an employer to recruit for a job within the faith community on a longer-term basis.

Tier 5 Temporary Worker

This allows skilled workers to come to the UK on a temporary basis, for a maximum of one or two years.

There are various subcategories within the Temporary Worker category including: Creative and Sporting; Religious Working; Charity Working; and Government Authorised Exchange.

Tier 2 General – Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT)

If you are applying under Tier 2 General, then in certain circumstances you will need to have undertaken a RLMT prior to making the Application, in order to show the job can’t be filled by a settled worker.

There is extensive guidance around how a RLMT must be conducted, and the types of documents which must be retained by the employer in order for the Home Office to deem the Test compliant.

Tier 2 General – Key Timings

Early on, you will need to give tactical consideration as to how various time limits will affect your recruitment process. Below are some key time limits to be aware of when looking to recruit under the Tier 2 General category:

  • You must advertise the job for at least 28 days, as part of the RLMT
  • The Home Office will decide most applications within eight weeks
  • The employer must assign the Certificate of Sponsorship to the migrant within six months of first advertising the job under the RLMT
  • The migrant must then submit their Visa Application within three months of the Certificate of Sponsorship being assigned to them
  • The migrant’s Tier 2 Visa Application can be submitted up to three months in advance of the start date with the new employer

Blacks’ Business Immigration team practice exclusively in immigration and are committed to helping clients recruit and retain the overseas workers they need.


For more information about our business immigration services, or for a free no obligation discussion, please email or call Blacks’ Business Immigration team today on 0113 322 2842.


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What our clients say

  • I was recently referred to Louis MacWilliam of Blacks Solicitors with relation to a visa application to live/work in the UK. Louis was extremely thorough and always kept in touch throughout the entire process. I could not recommend Louis or the team at Blacks more highly.

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  • I have recently used the legal services of Louis MacWilliam at Blacks. He helped me sort my tier 2 visa application and helped me out even out of hours. I would recommend him to anyone struggling with immigration.

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  • I would like to thank Louis MacWilliam very much for professional and very individual assistance in submitting applications and granting English citizenship. A very individual approach. The whole process ran quickly and most importantly after 5 weeks I received the citizenship. I highly recommend the services of Louis MacWilliam and the entire Immigration team.

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