Sponsor licensing made simple.

Contact us to find out how we can help you. 

Immigration basics

  • All non-British, non-Irish citizens need a visa to work in the UK.
  • There are many different types of visa and many different methods of obtaining one. People may hold visas in their own right, or in connection with their family.
  • Some visas allow unrestricted UK labour market access. Others limit or prohibit work entirely.
  • If a non-British, non-Irish citizen already holds a valid UK visa with work permission, any employer can freely employ them. In this scenario, the employer does not need to hold a sponsor licence and does not need to sponsor the worker. 

Skilled worker visas

  • Non-British, non-Irish candidates who do not have a UK visa will likely need to be sponsored in order to come to the UK to work. The UK’s flagship work-based visa is the “skilled worker” visa. This used to be known as a “Tier 2 (General)” visa, but was rebranded on 1 December 2020. 
  • For an individual to apply for a “skilled worker” visa, they must first be sponsored by a licensed employer. 
  • “Skilled worker” applicants must be paid a minimum salary. Generally, this is £25,600 but the minimum can be lower for new entrants to the labour market or for shortage occupation list roles.
  • “Skilled worker” applicants who are not citizens of a majority-English-speaking country must be able to demonstrate that their English language level is above a certain threshold. They can do this by taking an approved examination, or by providing evidence of a suitable degree.
  • Not all job roles are eligible for sponsorship. The Home Office publishes a list of eligible occupations. It is vital to check that a role can be sponsored before proceeding further. 

Sponsor licence application

  • To sponsor an international candidate, an employer must first apply to the Home Office for a sponsor licence. 
  • On average, it takes two to four weeks to put together a sponsor licence application, then a further eight to 10 weeks for a decision. A “priority” service for a faster decision is available for an additional fee, but only 10 businesses per day receive this service. Selection is a lottery. It is sensible to proceed on the assumption that a priority service will not be offered.
  • After becoming licensed, the employer must assign a certificate of sponsorship to the candidate. It can take a further few weeks for the candidate to apply for a “skilled worker” visa, receive their visa decision, and arrive in the UK.
  • The majority of our business clients have instructed us to help them apply for a sponsor licence after identifying an international candidate whom they want to start urgently. Without a licence, an immediate start is simply not possible unless the candidate has some other independent right to reside in the UK.

We urge all businesses to consider their future recruitment needs and plans. Even if you do not intend to recruit now, it is prudent to get a sponsor licence in place so you can act quickly in future when you identify a non-British, non-Irish candidate for a particular role. 

  • Jacqueline Moore has a huge bank of knowledge of the immigration system, probably unrivalled in the Scottish commercial immigration scene. She is incredibly hard-working and focussed on securing the optimum result for her client.

    -Legal 500, 2021

  • Very supportive in working as a team with first-rate IT and document support allied to strong technical knowledge of the ever changing immigration scene.

    -Legal 500, 2021

  • The service they provide is first-rate and they are very technically sound.

    -Chambers 2021


Helping a prestigious sporting body obtain a sponsor licence to recruit a key strategic hire.
Supporting a global video game company with multiple skilled worker visas
Carrying out a sponsor licence audit and training session for a leading hospitality chain to ensure sponsor record-keeping duties were being complied with.
Assisting a religious organisation obtain a sponsor licence after their initial application was refused. The team provided extensive training to ensure key staff in the organisation were prepared for their pre-licence compliance visit.