As an employer, you must assign a certificate of sponsorship to each foreign worker you employ. This is an electronic record, not a physical document. Each certificate has its own number which a worker can use to apply for a visa.
When you assign the certificate to a worker, they must use it to apply for their visa within 3 months. They must not apply for their visa more than 3 months before the start date of the job listed on the certificate.
You may need to check if your worker needs an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before you assign a certificate of sponsorship.
The sponsor licence is valid for 4 years and you must perform your responsibilities as a sponsor, else you will lose your licence.
- (a) monitoring your employees’ immigration status.
- (b) keeping copies of relevant documents for each employee, including passport and right to work information.
- (c) tracking and recording employees’ attendance.
- (d) keeping employee contact details up to date.
- (e) reporting to UKVI if there is a problem, for example if your employee stops coming to work.
How much you pay for the licence depends on if you are a small or large company.
If you are a small sponsor if at least 2 of the below apply:
- (a) You have an annual turnover is £10.2 million or less.
- (b) Your total assets are worth £5.1 million or less.
- (c) You have 50 employees or fewer.
Sponsor licence fee for small or charitable sponsors – £536
Sponsor licence fee for medium or large sponsors – £1,476
There is the Immigration Skills Charge paid when issuing as CoS to certain categories of Skilled Workers. The amount paid depends on the type of sponsor you are.
For small or charitable sponsors:
First 12 months of sponsorship – £364
Each additional 6 months – £182
For medium or large sponsors:
First 12 months of sponsorship- £1,000
Each additional 6 months – £500
Types of businesses eligible to apply for a licence
Any type of organisation can apply for a sponsorship licence you are trading and have a presence in the UK.
How long must you be in operation?
It does not matter how long you have been in operation and trading in the UK. If you are a new company and trading for less than 18 months, you can also apply for a licence.
It can take up to 8 weeks for a decision on your application for a sponsorship licence to be made.
You will also have the option, for an extra fee to get a decision within 10 working days. This service is limited to a small daily number on a first come, first served basis.
These are for people applying on a Skilled Worker visa from outside the UK.
You must apply for defined certificates for these workers through the sponsorship management system (SMS). You’ll get access to the SMS when you get your licence.
When you get the certificate
Applications are usually approved within one working day. It may take longer if UKVI need to carry out further checks on the information in your application.
Defined certificates will appear in your SMS account once they have been approved. You can then assign them to a worker.
These are for Skilled Workers applying from inside the UK, and applicants on all other visas.
If you’re sponsoring a UK Expansion Worker
You’ll only be able to assign one certificate of sponsorship, which must be assigned to the authorising officer so they can enter the UK.
You’ll need to pay a fee when you assign a certificate to a worker. How much a certificate will cost depends on the type of sponsor licence you have.
Type of licence Cost per Certificate
|Worker (except workers on the International Sportsperson visa)||£199|
|International Sportsperson – where the certificate of sponsorship is assigned for more than 12 months||£199|
|International Sportsperson – where the certificate of sponsorship is assigned for 12 months or less||£21|