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Sponsorship Licences

To be able to employ non-EEA citizens, a company needs to hold a United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) sponsor licence

Overview

You might need a sponsor licence to employ someone from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland to work for you in the UK.

This includes unpaid work, eg if you run a charity.

Sponsoring someone doesn’t guarantee that they’ll be allowed to come to or stay in the UK.

How to get a sponsor licence

  1. Check your business is eligible.
  2. Choose the type of licence you want to apply for - this will depend on what type of worker you want to sponsor. 
  3. Decide who will manage sponsorship within your business.
  4. Apply online and pay the fee.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) may visit your business to check it’s suitable.

 

After you apply

You’ll be given a licence rating if your application is successful.

You’ll be able to issue certificates of sponsorship if you have jobs that are suitable for sponsorship.

Your licence will be valid for 4 years. You may lose your licence if you don’t meet your responsibilities as a sponsor.

Eligibility

To get a licence, you can’t have:

  • unspent criminal convictions for immigration offences or certain other crimes, eg fraud or money laundering
  • any history of failing to carry out your sponsorship duties

You’ll need appropriate systems in place to monitor sponsored employees.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will review your application form and supporting documents. They may visit your business to make sure you’re trustworthy and capable of carrying out your duties.

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