Applying to a sponsorship Licence in the UK: Migreat Guidelines

A simple step-by-step guide to help you handle the sponsorship application for employers applying to the Tier 2 sponsorship licence.

What does it take?

To apply to the sponsorship licence, it will take you a bit of time to read and understand the rules (1), a bit of hassle to gather the right documents and having them certified (2), a bit of internet connection to fill out the online form by UKBA (3), and a lot of patience (count two months) to wait for the sponsorship to be approved (4)


1 – Read the guidance
It is not just an advice; it is necessary: read the whole sponsorship guidance and know it by heart. It will save you a lot of time paradoxically.

What’s in the Guidance? You will find information on

  • why the sponsorship licence is a tedious process. UKVI is outsourcing to your employer the authority and responsibility to play the Border Control Officer. Hence why forms are so specific, checks systematics and why officers are likely to come to your office to check them.
  • what you will need to apply: you will need documents that are specific to your organisation legal status (startup or ltd or charity) + information on fees + and will learn about responsibilities of your HR.
  • What kind of sponsorship you can have and want. There are two different kind of sponsorship that defines the type of migrant worker the company is allowed to hire. Tier 2 is for full-time work and generally for managers or senior workers. Tier 5 is for temporary workers, young people and has stricter rules on the time the worker can legally stay in the UK. You will also have to signal if you want unrestricted or restricted COS (if you are looking to hire foreigners already in the UK or living outside the UK)
  • what is a valid job position: not all jobs on the job market are accessible to foreigners. The job must correspond to a job description, SOC code and a minimum salary listed in the appendix.

Once you have read the guidelines, I would advise you to put down all the questions you have left to be answered by a solicitor or on to clarify any doubts you have. You really don’t want to end up two months later after having applied and paid with a refusal later for a schoolboy error. Like asking for an unrestricted CoS or having a 3 pages document signed certified but without the number of pages indicated as certified. Documents
2 – Gather the documents
In the guidelines, it is written that only 4 documents needs to be sent (all A rated docs compulsory and B rated documents that are relevant and C rated to complete). From immigration solicitors experience, Migreat advises to have more documents ready and sent for a simple fact: if the case-worker find a document they don’t recognise as valid they can swap it for another one that is valid.

How do you like it? Original or copycat?

Take extra care in having them certified the right way, by the right person, and in the way described in the guidelines. If your certifier is certifying a document of 10 pages, make sure he/she includes the exact number of pages that are certified and that the document is bundle properly.

Pick the Right Office Guy

Assign who is going to play chief border control at the office (authorising Officer and Key contact) – if you have an HR that is usually the person that it will end up being in charge.

The Home Office might pop at your office for an interview of the Authorising officer. If you are that person you want to make sure you are ready to answer their question, have the guidelines in mind and documents at hand.
3 – Fill the online application
You can start the online application as soon as you want and save it to complete later. Migreat advises to start the application as soon as you are finished reading the guidelines for two reason:

– At the end of the form, you will be provided with a list of documents you will need to include in your application. That is again a nice and useful reminder.

– The online application also questions the specifics of your application. It will help you double-check your understanding of the guidelines.

Pretty much like an exam, it is a good exercise to realise how much you rock at knowing the rules by heart.

4 – And when ready: Pay & Wait
If there is one thing that has been made fairly easy and straighfoward, it is probably


The decision on your sponsorship licence will come in 6 to 8 weeks after applying. If helped by a solicitor, you can get it much faster returned.

Being pro-active about your application is one main criteria of success: emailing, phoning and having other documents ready to be sent will significantly increase your chances to get your application processed faster and be successful.

Nevertheless, there is nothing simple and automatic with application to the UKVI, each case is considered individually.

If you have technical questions, Migreat can help refer you to immigration  experts or you can visit Migreat visa and immigration forum. People have various experiences with the UKVI, and you can never think that your situation is exactly like the one of your friend.

(This blog post follows a previous blog post on what jobs and companies qualify for the sponsorship licence for foreign workers in the UK)

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9 thoughts on “Applying to a sponsorship Licence in the UK: Migreat Guidelines”

  1. Hi,

    We just applied for a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence. I have two questions in regards to that which i could not find on the guidelines.

    1. Is it certain that UKVI will visit the office? if they do, will we be getting contacted first? What do they check/ask?

    2. We have just received an email with Level 1 user login details, full details are due by post. Do we have to do anything now?

    I will be grateful if you could answer these questions or direct me to any documents where I can find the answers.


    1. Hello Emad,

      Good questions!
      1. not certain but likely. They do sometimes contact you before, sometimes not. They are allowed to do so. The questions they will ask are all questions related to your sponsorship licence and the migrants you are wanting to employ. A solicitor can brief you and prepare you on this.
      2. Just wait. You did not receive the confirmation you are successful at the application right?

      Hope that helps,
      PR: I love what your company. I saw your adverts on buses all over East London. Super cool!!


      1. Hi Josephine,

        I am glad to know that our adverts managed to put on a good impression!

        Thank you for your prompt response. I just read some articles online. and some of them says the Migrant worker should be there while they visit or we(the company) should have adequate information about them. Do we have to maintain that? as the migrant worker does not work with us as of yet, we are waiting for the sponsorship license.

        no, we did not receive any confirmation of application yet. But i believe it is successful as the first time we applied our documents were returned and fees refunded after a week as we were missing documents. This time it didn’t happen. so will i be wrong to consider its accepted and now being checked?


      2. Emad,
        They did 🙂
        1. is your migrant allowed to work in the UK on another visa already? The migrant is not allowed to be working and in your office if the migrant does not have a valid visa.
        2. You will receive a letter that says if you are granted the licence and if what is your rating. I was unaware that they can refund fees – I have never heard of such thing. On the guidelines they state that you cannot be refunded if you are refused the sponsorship or if you have missing documents. I don’t know how this happened, but lucky you!

        Hope that helps,


  2. Hi

    I am wondering, my previous company is a T2 sponsor, A rating, but was unable to obtain the a COS for my role, therefore I never applied for the T2 general visa myself as it was denied by the Home office, therefore my contract was terminated.

    Now another company wants to sponsor me (They have a Sponsorship licence A rating too) but have to go through the whole 28 days listing n govt site etc – would this effect my application if I had previously “applied” by my old company? Would the Home office keep this in record?


      1. Hi

        I don’t know. The company that was applying for the role did not tell me why they got rejected, something to do with the job being too generic which could have been filled locally despite them listing it on the job notice board and conducting interviews. Also they filled in the application forms themselves, not hired a lawyer (which might have made things better).


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