UK Immigration Solicitors

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Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Guidance

Tier 2 Sponsor Licence system was introduced by the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) in 2008. To recruit skilled labour from outside the single market, companies must have a valid Tier 2 or 5 Sponsor Licence. Employers and HR directors must accept that sponsor licences come with strict compliance obligations, which if not met, can result in huge fines and even prison sentences.

What is a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence?

In simple terms, Tier 2 Sponsor Licence is the permission granted by the Home Office to UK employers to hire skilled staff from overseas (i.e. non-EEA countries as of now but rest of world post-brexit w.e.f. 1st January 2021)

What Are the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence UK Eligibility Requirements?

To apply for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence your organisation must provide proof of the following:

  • It is a legally operating business in the UK
  • Key personnel have been appointed, and they are dependable and of good character
  • Your HR systems can manage all the sponsorship duties
  • Your business is offering employment positions suitable for Tier 2 skill requirements, that are genuine positions and meet minimum salary guidelines

The key personnel that must be appointed are:

  • Authorising officer – a senior and competent person who operates the Sponsor Licence Management System (SMS)
  • Key contact – your main point of contact with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)
  • Level 1 user – responsible for all day-to-day management of your licence using the SMS

One of our team can take over the role of Key contact and Level 1 user for you, ensuring you are always compliant and your SMS is up-to-date. This frees up time for you and your staff to concentrate on growing your business and meeting customer demands.

How Does My Company Apply for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence?

To apply for a Tier 2 or 5 Sponsor Licence, you will need to fill in the online application form and send it to the Home Office along with the required supporting documents. It is possible that you will receive a visit from the Home Office immigration officials who will examine your HR systems to check if your business can meet the compliance requirements. Our team can conduct a mock audit of your HR policies and procedures prior to you applying for your licence, identify any weaknesses and put in place an action plan to rectify them.

It is strongly recommended that a cover letter is sent with the application, that lists each document enclosed and clarifies any details or relevant background information, such as corporate structure.

What Documents Do I Need to Apply for a UK Tier 2 Sponsor Licence?

Normally you require four documents to submit a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Application online. The required document list is extensive and will depend on whether you are a public body, start-up, franchise, or SME. Some easy to obtain documents may include but not limited to are:

  1. Recent Business bank statement.
  2. Employer’s liability insurance of at least £5 million from an authorised insurer.
  3. Certificate of VAT registration.
  4. Evidence of registration as an employer with the HMRC – i.e. PAYE and Accounting Office Reference Number.
  5. Proof of ownership or lease of the business premises or the rent agreement.
  6. Latest audited (mandatory if applicable) /unaudited signed accounts.
  7. Mandatory evidence, if you are required to be registered with and/or inspected/monitored by a regulatory body to operate lawfully in the UK.
  8. What are the types of UK Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship?

    Home Office has formulated two types of Certificate of Sponsorship which are –

    1. Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship

    These certificates are given to those prospective employees who are living outside the UK and wish to work in the UK at a position paying less than £159,600 a year unless the job role is an inward investment post.

    It can also be given to the family members(dependants) of those Tier 4 migrants who are changing positions to a Tier 2 Visa.

    You can apply for restricted certificates from the Sponsorship Management System (SMS).

    2. Unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship

    You can get multiple Unrestricted Certificates according to the genuine need of your business.

    When you apply for your Tier 2 Licence, you’ll have to tell the home office how many certificates are required.

    You have to prove that you genuinely need the number of certificates that you have asked for.

    The Advantages of a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence

    A Tier 2 Sponsor Licence allows you to employ overseas nationals. Once an organisation acquires a sponsor Licence, they become registered with the Home Office as a sponsor and can begin to issue Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) to overseas skilled staff subject to meeting the requirements.

    For many companies, being able to hire overseas skilled talent is essential to the successful operation and growth of their business. At A Y & J Solicitors, we have extensive experience of helping companies acquire and maintain their Tier 2 Sponsor Licences.

    What Can I Do If My Application for a UK Tier 2 Sponsor Licence is Refused?

    In some cases, you cannot reapply for 6 months if your Sponsor Licence is refused. So, it is very important that you prepare a strong application for the very first time. In refusal, if there has been a simple case working error or the supporting evidence has not been considered properly, our lawyers can apply for a ‘pre-licence error correction’ on your organisation’s behalf.
    There is NO right to appeal if the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence application is refused. Therefore, the only option is to challenge the decision via judicial review, should the ‘pre-licence error correction’ procedure bring no positive results. Our team can expertly advise and represent you in challenging a decision of sponsor licence refusal.

    What are the Tier 2 sponsor list categories?

    Tier 2 Sponsor License route has four categories:
    1. Tier 2 (General)
    Tier 2(General) route is particularly designed for migrants who have been offered a place to work in the UK. There are not enough domestic workers in the UK’s labour market to meet the demands. Therefore, it is the main immigration route for skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland employed by a licensed sponsor to apply to live in the UK.
    2. Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer (ICT)
    Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer (ICT)) is for those migrants who have been offered a role by a migrant’s overseas employer in a UK branch of the organisation. The applicant must be from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. The applicant of Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer (ICT)) must be employed by a licensed sponsor.
    3. Tier 2(Sportsperson)
    Tier 2 (Sportsperson) must be applied by an elite sportsperson or qualified coach recognized by the applicant’s sports governing body as being at the highest level of profession internationally. The applicant must be from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland and must also meet other eligibility requirements.
    4.Tier 2(Minister of Religion)
    An applicant of Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) must be offered a job within a faith community, for instance, as a member of a religious order, missionary, or minister of a religion in the UK. The applicant must be from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland while meeting the other eligibility requirements.

    How can I get a Tier 2 sponsor licence application?

    Post Brexit, employers in the UK need a valid Tier 2 Sponsor Licence in order to employ overseas skilled workers. To get a Sponsor Licence, UK employers need to follow the below steps:

    1. Check your business is eligible.
    2. Choose the type of licence you want to apply for(In this case it will be Tier 2 Sponsor Licence).
    3. Decide who will manage sponsorship within your business.
    4. Apply online and pay the fee.

    If your application is successful, you’ll be given a licence rating. You can then issue certificates of sponsorship for advertised jobs and employ overseas workers.

    How long will my Tier 2 sponsor licence be valid?

    Once you have a valid Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, it will be valid for 4 years. However, if you fail to comply with the Home Office rules and regulations, you may lose your licence.

    What is Tier 2 sponsor licence processing time?

    Tier 2 Sponsor Licence application usually takes 8-10 week to be processed by the Home Office. While the application is being processed, you will very likely be visited by the Home Office Compliance Officer. The pre-licence audit is to make sure that you are complying with the sponsorship duties.

    is a Tier 2 sponsor licence fee?

    Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Fee depends on the size of the business and varies as follows:

    • For a large Tier 2 sponsor, the annual fee is £1,476.
    • For a small Tier 2 sponsor, the annual licence is £536.

    Why was my Tier 2 Sponsor Licence application refused?

    Your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Application can be refused by the Home Office for a number of reasons. Some of the common reasons can be:

    • the business fails to pass the Home Office’s Compliance Audit;
    • the business does not have appropriate policy and procedure in place to meet their sponsorship duties
    • the business does not pass its ‘genuineness test’
    • the business fails to retain sufficient documentation on migrant workers
    • the business has not responded to the Home Office’s inquiries on time

    What will happen if I employ migrant workers without a Sponsorship Licence?

    In order to lawfully employ skilled sponsored overseas workers, UK employers need to have a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence failing to which you can face potential civil penalties and criminal convictions for illegal working.

    How do I get my tier 2 sponsor license number?

    A Sponsor Licence number is a unique reference number which is handed out to Sponsor Licence holders.

    If you are a Tier 5 or Tier 2 worker, you can find your employer’s Sponsor Licence number on your Certificate of Sponsorship.

    Sponsor a Tier 2 worker:Guidance for Sponsors

    1. A sponsor is granted a Tier 2 license which implies a significant trust is placed on them. This trust entails acting in accordance with the Immigration Rules, Tier 2 sponsor guidance, and the UK Legal System.
    2. Sponsors have to bear the responsibility to behave in a manner consistent with the fundamental values and not tending to cause harm to the wider good. A sponsor should keep in mind that sponsorship is a privilege, not a right. The Home Office will never license organisations whose actions and behaviors are tending to obstruct the public good.
    3. The Home Office will take appropriate compliance actions if the existing sponsor is found engaging with behaviors non-conducive to the public goods. The compliance action will depend on the gravity of actions or behavior.

    Our Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Services

    A Y & J Solicitors is a multi-award winning, 10+ years experienced, recommended by Legal 500, boutique UK immigration law firm based in Central London.

    We have been very successful in assisting 4000+ clients including those who needed Tier 2 Sponsor Licence with a trust rating of 4.9/5 based on 700+ reviews on TrustPilot and Google.

    We can help you too.

    We are committed to assisting you to apply for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence and achieve long-standing compliance with all Home Office requirements. And despite the Home Office becoming increasingly strict about compliance, we continue to be successful in developing compliance procedures for Sponsor Licence holders.

    We provide complete handholding support that offers peace of mind, assurance, and a better outcome. Our service extends to all aspects of sponsorship, including:

    Why do you need professional immigration lawyers?

    For many sectors, such as agriculture, tech, hospitality, and finance,the ability to recruit talent from overseas is imperative to meeting customer demands, launching innovation projects, and growing their business. Post-brexit, the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence may be very much needed for many UK employers. Therefore, it is sensible to engage immigration experts who you can rely on to help manage your sponsor licence duties and responsibilities and keep you up to date with any changes to relevant regulations

    At A Y & J Solicitors, our lawyers can provide full support to your organisation, so you can remain compliant at all times. This takes away any unnecessary stress, should the Home Office decide to make an announced/ unannounced visit to your premises


    The Sponsor Guidance states that if an application for a sponsor licence has been refused, in many cases the business will be prevented from reapplying for a period of six months.
    Circumstances in which a cooling off period will apply include whereby the applicant organisation did not meet the requirements to be a sponsor in the category under which it applied, where it did not have the ability to comply with its sponsor duties, or where a person within the applicant organisation, falling into the definition of ‘you’ or ‘your’, has an unspent conviction for a criminal offence.

    Sponsor License Rating is the process of providing an appropriate rating by UKVI, to decide whether to forward your application for a license or not.

    There are two types of Sponsor Licence Ratings, i.e., A-rating or B-rating. An individual or group of individuals should analyse and evaluate these ratings accurately as bad ratings can adversely affect your dream of settling and working in the UK.

Contact Us Today For Tier 2 Sponsor Licence

Brochure of Sponsor Licence Application

Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Guidance – How to Apply?

How can your business obtain a Sponsor Licence?
Here are few of the steps you should be aware when considering of applying for a Sponsor Licence:

You should be able to demonstrate that you have a bona fide business actively trading in the United Kingdom; You should be able to explain, and evidence why do you require a Sponsor Licence. This is where most Applicants are failing to evidence the need of a Sponsor Licence; You should have conducted a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT), meeting all the requirements as per the Appendix D; You should have a HR system in place that is compliant with the UKVI Rules and Regulations for the Sponsor Licence Holders; You must submit at least 4 mandatory documents with your Sponsor Licence Application. Failure to ensure that your application is incomplete or with missing documents will attract a refusal of your Sponsor Licence Application and six months cooling o period will be applied.

Blog on Sponsor Licence Application

Challenging Sponsor Licence Revocation
On August 07, 2018 | In Judicial Review | By A Y & J Solicitors

A Step By Step Guide To Challenging a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Revocation Using Judicial Review

If you have received a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence revocation letter and the reasons for the Home Office’s decision are illegal, procedurally unfair, disproportionate or irrational, challenging the decision by way of Judicial review may resolve your situation. Judicial review is not about whether a decision is fair or even right. Rather, it investigates whether…

Success Story on Sponsor Licence Application

tier 2 sponsor licence

A Y & J Solicitors Helps Care Business Reinstate Tier 2 Sponsor Licence

Background A care home, Company A, with over 800 employees serving clients around London lost their Tier 2 Sponsor Licence following a compliance visit from the home office. Company A was established over 20 years ago in the care industry had three non-EEA employees who were on a Tier 2 visa.  All three employees were…

Video on Sponsor Licence Application

Sponsor Licence Application
Sponsor Licence Information

Important for those needing to hire migrant workers.

Introduction of Sponsor Licence Application

We are a specialised UK immigration law firm.

This video covers ‘Introduction on Sponsor Licence Application’.

If you need Non-EU skilled employees to operate your business, you must apply for a Sponsor Licence. The Sponsor Licence program is part of the UK’s Points Based System that issues points to Non-EU applicants to determine if they will be permitted to work in the UK.

To qualify for a Sponsor Licence, you must be a genuine business or charity operating legally in the UK. The Home Office will look at the character of your company and the people you name on your application. You need to show that you can fulfill your Sponsor duties, and that the positions you need to fill cannot be filled from within the UK.

To begin your application, you must register with and fill in the online application form. You will also need to post all required supporting documentation and information to the Home Office. You must be prepared for an onsite visit from a compliance officer, although this does not always occur. Approval for a Sponsor Licence is valid for 4 years.

If you require assistance in applying a strong Sponsor Licence Application, please contact us today. Our contact details are at the bottom of the video. We are happy to help. Thank you.

A Y & J Solicitors’ Review

5 Out of 5 Star
Pallavi gave AY&J Solicitors 5 stars via @Trustpilot

Our Tier 2 Sponsor Licence application was successful in just 3 weeks. We received extremely professional and helpful service throughout our engagement. A Y & J Solicitors advised us correctly, and at the end, we achieved a great positive result. Many thanks again Yash/Sok Wei and Team for all your support. I would recommend A Y & J Solicitors very highly !!!

5 Out of 5 Star
GNL gave AY&J Solicitors 5 stars via @Trustpilot

We at GNL has pleasure and privilege of having Yash Dubal , Senior Immigration Lawyer of A Y & J Solicitors at our office to discuss Sponsorship duties and have an open forums on multiple of questions we had on UKVI regulations on sponsoring and employing skilled migrant workers. We learnt great deal of critical aspects of Sponsorship responsibilities. We were able to clarify a long list of doubts/questions we had on regulations and sponsorship duties. Yash is very professional and he attended to every question we had regarding UKVI regulation with great detail and care. His attention to detail, focus, in-depth understanding of regulations and implications are without any parallels available in this industry. We feel privileged to have spent the day with him at our office and are looking forward to have future engagement with him. We recommend A Y & J Solicitors service to anyone who wish to sponsor skilled migrant workers in the UK.

5 Out of 5 Star
NanoIT Solutions Ltd gave AY&J Solicitors 5 stars via @Trustpilot

A Y & J Solicitors has helped us great deal recently for us to retain our ‘A’ rating Tier 2 sponsor licence. They made all easy for us and we passed our audit with the Home office with flying colours. Being an IT company with Tier 2 Sponsor licence, we were blown away by the complex processes and policies to be implemented to be 100% compliant with the latest Home office’s requirement of Tier 2 sponsorship. It is hard to figure out as to what was enough and correct. It was very stressful to monitor Tier 2 migrants & specially the arrangement of the sponsored workers working at client site on ‘client contract’. A word of warning to other likewise companies, please do not take it easy. There is a lot for the Tier 2 compliance which you do not know that you really “do not know”. So in this case you need a specialist to make you understand first what you “do not know” then help you to fix that. If you are a company with a Tier 2 sponsor licence and want complete peace of mind maintaining your Tier 2 licence and retaining your NON-EU skilled staff then A Y & J Solicitors is the company to go to. They simply do not work as a consultant for me but they literally owned my problem. I cannot ask more than this. Thank you so much and my best wishes to A Y & J Solicitors. I have referred few of my acquaintances to A Y & J Solicitors for their ‘Tier 2 compliance audit’. We at NanoIT Solutions highly recommend A Y & J Solicitors, working with the team has been fantastic experience.