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Employer Sponsorship Licences

If you are an employer looking to employ a non-EEA National worker then you will need to apply for a Sponsorship Licence.

UK employers have to be licensed by UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) before they can employ non-EEA workers. Employers who do not have a sponsor licence will be unable to hire new workers from outside the EU or extend work permits for current employees.

The company must complete an online licence application and provide supporting documentation to meet the necessary evidentiary requirements. This must be supplied within five days of the initial application.

Failure to submit all required documents will result in an application being delayed or rejected and further costs being incurred.

Following the receipt of these documents, the company may then be subject to a compliance visit from UK Visas and Immigration, who will assess whether or not to grant the licence.

Companies will also be required to comply with the illegal working requirements which states that all non-EU employees are required to provide documentation that proves their right to work before being employed by a UK company and copies of this information must also be retained by the employer.


If you wish to apply for a sponsorship visa licence, you as the employer need to be aware of the following duties:

Prior to making the sponsor visa  licence application you will need to undertake the following steps:

  • You are a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK.
  • Your key personnel named on the sponsor application are honest, dependable and reliable
  • You are aware of and capable of carrying out their visa sponsorship duties i.e. you have the appropriate human resources and recruitment systems and practices in place
  • You are offering genuine employment that meets the Tier 2 (General) skill level and appropriate rates of pay.

A civil penalty for illegal employment can be extremely damaging for employers. Given the financial, operational and reputational impact, organisations can seek to challenge a civil penalty notice. The appeals process is, however, complex and time sensitive.

An employer will be subjected to Civil Penalties when they have breached their immigration duties and can be served a civil penalty for illegal employment. Employers must by law ensure all workers have relevant permissions to work lawfully in the UK by conducting effective Right to Work checks.

If your organisation is found to be employing illegal workers, you will be served a civil penalty for illegal employment of up to £20,000 per illegal worker.

You could also face, among other consequences, criminal prosecution, disqualification of directors, revoked business licence and endure reputational damage of being ‘named and shamed’ on the Home Office list of offending organisations.

If you have been served with a civil penalty for illegal employment, you are permitted to pursue an appeal. This can be to either lower the level of the original penalty or to remove the penalty altogether. The level of the original penalty can however also be increased at the appeal stage.

Challenges have to be made on specific grounds, within specific timeframes and be supported by relevant documentary evidence. The approach you take should be dependent on your organisation’s circumstances and the level of the civil penalty notice you have received.

If you need advice and assistance with any aspect then please contact Optimus Law and we will assist you with the following:

  • Assisting with initial considerations as to the most appropriate type of sponsorship visa application and suitable key personnel
  • Drafting your online sponsor licence application
  • Helping you to collate the appropriate supporting documentation that you must submit
  • Auditing your HR systems and procedures to get them in order before the UKVI visit
  • Briefing or training staff on their duties and responsibilities
  • Advising on the UKVI ‘genuineness’ test and assessing whether a prospective employee satisfies the points criteria before the sponsor issues a certificate of sponsorship
  • Advising on the alternatives available to you if you decide not to make a sponsor licence application

As a team of immigration lawyers, we have an established reputation for advising on Tier 2 sponsor licence applications.

We can provide clients with a complete employer sponsorship visa licence application package, with our team of UK immigration specialists well versed in all the document and evidentiary requirements that can be vital to a prompt and stress-free application.

Choose Optimus Law

Choose Optimus Law for professional support on your sponsor licence application

Are you planning to apply for a sponsor licence? The team at Optimus Law are the experts when it comes to all areas of UK immigration for businesses. Get in touch with our specialist team today to discuss how we can get you on the right track for your application. We provide the support you need to complete your sponsor licence application to the highest standards, from mock audits to professional guidance. Call today or fill out our contact form, and we’ll get back to you.


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Robina is a very reliable, helpful and experienced immigration solicitor in our area. I had a successful appeal with my Tier 1 applications with the help from Robina.

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I’ve loved my experience with Optimus Law. Very friendly staff, easy to talk with, they follow up with you and keep you updated! And surely I will keep using their services.


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