Sponsor Licence Guidance

Whether you represent a business employing migrant workers, or an educational institution looking for assistance with a Tier 4 sponsor license, the solicitors at Latitude Law will be happy to guide you through the requirements of the PBS sponsorship scheme.

The sponsor licensing process has become increasingly complex and restrictive; penalties for non-compliance, or failure to maintain proper records are significant.

To speak to a lawyer about applying for a Tier 2, 4 or 5 sponsor licence, call us today on 0161 234 6800 or complete our enquiry form and we will get in touch as soon as possible.

What is a sponsor licence?

A sponsor licence is the authority you need from UK Visas and Immigration to sponsor non-EEA (European Economic Area) staff or students in the UK. A licence lasts four years (unless withdrawn by the Home Office) and must be renewed before expiry if you wish to continue to sponsor overseas staff.

For a UK business or educational institution to be considered for a sponsor licence, you must be able to prove the following:

  • Your business/institution is legitimate and operates lawfully in the UK
  • You have conducted a resident labour market test and failed to recruit from the resident market
  • There are proper systems in place to monitor sponsored employees/students
  • You are offering genuine employment with an appropriate salary or teaching
  • You do not have a history of rejected sponsorship applications

Before applying for a sponsor licence, our solicitors can take a look at your organisation’s policies and practices to ensure they are in line with regulations, and advise on the best action to take should changes need to be made.  We offer dummy audits to firms wishing to test their HR systems.

Tier 2 sponsorship licence

If you wish to employ a skilled worker from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), you must apply for a tier 2 sponsor licence for that employee to be eligible to live and work legally in the UK long-term. There are multiple options for companies considering hiring migrant workers, which include:

  • General – for a role which is on the shortage occupation list, or where there isn’t talent available in the UK market.
  • Intra-company transfer – for companies which operate in multiple countries and need to transfer employees to the UK on a long-term basis, or under a graduate training programme.
  • Minister of Religion – for people who are coming to the UK to work for a religious organisation.
  • Sportsperson – for sportspeople and coaches who are looking to take up roles at the highest level in their sport


Tier 4 sponsorship licence

A tier 4 sponsor license is required if your educational institution wants to enrol students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). In order to be able to provide tier 4 sponsor visas, the establishment must offer courses of study to full-time students in the UK.

As a tier 4 sponsor, you are responsible for:

  • Ensuring the student attends their course
  • Monitoring the student’s unauthorised absences
  • Contacting the authorities if the student leaves their course prior to the course end date

Educational establishments which fail to comply with their duties will be investigated by the UKVI who depending on the nature of the breach may take compliance action.

Applying for a sponsor licence

Once you have been deemed eligible for a sponsor licence, we will assist you through the stages of future PBS visa applications, ensuring you comply with the Home Office’s requirements every step of the way. The process includes:

  • Making sure you apply for the correct type of sponsor licence – for more information on types of licence, visit the government website
  • Helping you find someone suitable in your business/institution to manage the sponsoring
  • Collating all the necessary supporting documents for your sponsor licence application
  • Advising on the correct way to fill in the sponsor licence application form and ensuring you pay the correct fee

Our solicitors will be with you at every step of the sponsor licence and visa application process.

Your duties

Once you have obtained a sponsor licence, you have a number of duties that you must adhere to. This includes informing UKVI if:

  • A sponsored worker/student does not turn up for the first day of work/study
  • A sponsored worker/student is absent from work/lessons without your permission for 10 consecutive days
  • A sponsored worker resigns or is dismissed, or a student quits
  • You stop sponsoring a worker or student
  • There are any changes to the sponsored worker’s/student’s circumstances

We can provide advice and guidance on how to carry out your duties so you can obtain and maintain a sponsor licence.

About civil penalties

If you are found to be employing a migrant worker without a tier 2 or 5 sponsor license, you could face severe penalties, as well as irreparable damage to your reputation. Punishment includes:

  • imprisonment for up to five years;
  • a fine of up to £20,000 per illegal worker.

If you are given a penalty notice, our specialist solicitors have expertise on the legal framework governing civil penalties and the measures you must employ in order to avoid them. We can advise on the merits of appealing and represent your interests in seeking to have the penalty reduced or cancelled.


If you are given a penalty notice, our specialist solicitors at Latitude Law have expertise on the legal framework governing civil penalties and the measures you must employ in order to avoid them. We can advise on the merits of appealing and represent your interests in seeking to have the penalty reduced or cancelled.

How we can help

We can assist you in applying for a sponsor licence, providing expert, easy-to-understand guidance on the processes to complete and the information and evidence the Home Office requires. If you have already applied for and been refused a sponsor licence, we can offer insight into making a successful reapplication that avoids the problems you previously encountered.

Once your licence is in place, our lawyers can give ongoing support to help you comply with Home Office rules and regulations. We will always be on hand to advise in the event of things going wrong, but you can rest assured that we have the in-depth and most up-to-date knowledge of sponsorship requirement to prevent that from happening.

Why choose us?

Our business immigration team is expert in dealing with applications for sponsor licences and is known to provide a fast, friendly, reliable and professional service to our clients. That’s because we know how complicated it can be securing a sponsor licence for a business or educational institution.

We will begin by taking a look at your circumstances and establishing the strengths and weaknesses of your application for a licence. Once we’ve helped you with your application, we will liaise with the Home Office on your behalf until a decision has been made, keeping you informed of its progress along the way.

When a decision has been made, we will ensure any follow-up work is carried out satisfactorily and will be on hand to provide advice on managing sponsored workers.