UK employers seeking to hire highly skilled migrant workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) are required to obtain a UK Sponsorship Licence.
A sponsorship licence is granted for an initial period of four years and may be extended if the company wishes to continue to sponsor any non-EEA nationals.
If you have any sponsored migrants working for you, you must renew your licence before it expires if you want them to continue working for you, even if you do not plan to sponsor any new migrants. It is the responsibility of the sponsor to renew their sponsorship licence. A sponsor should give themselves enough time to apply for a renewal before the end date of their licence. If the application is accepted, then the licence will be temporarily extended to allow time for the Home Office to make a decision on the renewal application.
Renewing your sponsor licence:
A sponsor licence application is submitted online using the Sponsor Management System (SMS). This should be done before the end date of the licence. In consideration of the application, the Home Office may ask for further documents from the company, relating to the business and corporate documents.
Any documents requested by the Home Office should be sent within 5 working days. Failure to do so, could result in reducing the Certificate of Sponsorship allocations, downgrading the licence, suspending the licence, or revoking it altogether.
For this reason, it is important that sponsors are continually compliant throughout the duration of their licence. All relevant documentation should be readily available to provide to the Home Office as and when they request it.
When you apply to renew your sponsor licence, UKVI may visit your business premises. This is particularly likely if you have not received a Home Office compliance visit in the last 4 years.
The checks we make could include asking you to send us some documents. We may want to see any documents listed in Appendix A of the guidance for sponsors as mandatory documents for anyone applying for a new sponsor licence. We may also ask for other information or documents not listed in Appendix A. If we write to you to ask for any information or documents, you must send them within 5 working days.
The company must meet specific rules before their licence can be renewed. Sponsors should renew their Tier 2 Sponsor licence in advance if they want to maintain their ability to sponsor overseas workers.
Key points about renewing a sponsor licence:
- Sponsor licences need to be renewed every 4 years
- Sponsors can renew their licences starting 3 months before their expiry date
- The sponsor can view their licence expiry and earliest renewal dates in their sponsorship management system (SMS) account
- Sponsors must apply to renew their licence by submitting an application using their SMS account and paying the appropriate fee online