Applying for a sponsor licence

From 1 December 2020, UK employers need to use a sponsor licence to recruit both EU and non-EU citizens. UK employers without a sponsor licence should apply for one in order that they have the ability to recruit overseas staff quickly once the need arises.

Since 2008, UK employers have been required to obtain a sponsor licence in order to recruit staff from overseas. Employers that already have a Tier 2 sponsor licence can use it to sponsor a Skilled Worker from 1 December 2020.

A sponsor licence provides the means to assign certificates of sponsorship (online work permits) to overseas nationals in order that they can obtain permission to work in the UK. The sponsor licence lasts for four years and then needs to be renewed, maintaining full compliance at all times.

The Global Business Mobility routes also require the business to apply for a sponsor licence.

We advise clients in all sectors including techmedia, technology and sportfinancial services; and the legal sector.


We have many years’ experience assisting start-up to multinational organisations successfully apply for a sponsor licence.  We assist with preparation of the application documents and forms and seek to obtain approval in the swiftest possible timeframe with the minimum possible input from your business.

We recognise that many agile businesses do not have ‘standard’ working practices such as regular office space and personnel arrangements.  We frequently advise in relation to such sponsor licence applications and have excellent working relationships with the Home Office to help avoid any issues.

Importantly, before the sponsor licence application is submitted we will ensure that you are fully aware of the compliance responsibilities of being a sponsor licence holder and provide a mock audit service.  

We can provide regular ‘health checks’ on your sponsor licence and assist with its renewal every four years.  As a law firm, we are able to act as a ‘user’ on your sponsor licence in order to take care of online reporting requirements and submissions based on your instructions.



  • Advising a UK start-up without office business premises on its sponsor licence application and subsequent recruitment of EU and non-EU citizens using the Skilled worker category
  • Advising a global organisation regarding the sponsor licence implications of a change in its immediate owner
  • Advising on sponsor licence renewal applications
  • Advising in relation to the sponsor licence implications of where sponsored workers are subject to TUPE


Applying for a sponsor licence Insights

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