How does an employer apply for a sponsor licence?

To apply for a sponsor licence, to sponsor an employee under the UK visa system, an employer must complete an online application via the GOV.UK website.

The employer must submit evidence to show that it is a legitimate organisation operating lawfully in the UK. There is a prescribed list of documents that can be submitted for this purpose, for example: the organisation's latest set of fully audited accounts; evidence of employers' liability insurance; and evidence of registration with HM Revenue and Customs for PAYE and national insurance purposes.

The employer must nominate individuals to fill the three "key roles" with responsibility for operating the licence. The roles are: the authorising officer, who has overall responsibility; the key contact, for contact with the Home Office; and the level 1 user, who is responsible for the day-to-day management of the licence. The individuals in these roles must satisfy strict criteria regarding their suitability.

To obtain a sponsor licence, the employer must be able to show that it has suitable HR processes in place to meet the duties of a sponsor, such as monitoring sponsored employees' attendance and immigration status and keeping the required records.

The fee for obtaining a sponsor licence varies depending on the type of licence and the size of the organisation.

For further details, see How to apply for a sponsor licence.