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February 9, 2021

Tier 2 Sponsor Licence: Main Requirements

To employ talented skilled workers from overseas, the company must hold a permission given by the Home Office – Tier 2 Sponsor Licence. To obtain the licence, the company should checked by UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) and assessed by the Home Office, that checks the company background to identify that:

  • The company is a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK.
  • The company is honest, dependable and reliable.
  • The company offer genuine employment that meets the required skill level and appropriate rates of pay.
  • The company is capable of carrying out sponsor duties and evidencing compliance in a time frame and manner as per regulation.

There are two main types of tier 2 sponsor licences (excluding sportsperson and religious ministry licences), these are:

  • Tier 2 (General) sponsor licence; and
  • Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) sponsor licence

An employer can make an application for either sponsor licence or both simultaneously and they can also apply at different times.


Applying for a Sponsor licence

To apply for Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, you will need to complete an online application form and submit it to the Home Office along with supporting documentation. It is extremely likely that immigration officials from the Home Office will visit and examine your HR systems to check for compliance and your eligibility for Tier 2 Sponsor Licence.


Documents required but not limited to are:

  • Recent bank statements for your business
  • Employers liability insurance documents from an authorised supplier of at least 5 million
  • Proof of business registration with HMRC including the PAYE and Accounting Office Reference Number
  • Evidence of ownership or lease of business premises
  • Latest audited/non audited accounts (signed)
  • Any mandatory evidence required from regulatory bodies specific to the business sector


There is a fee for a tier 2 sponsor licence application which depends upon the size of the business:

  • For a large sponsorship annual licence the fee is £1,476
  • For a small sponsorship annual licence the fee is £536


It generally takes approximately 8-10 weeks for the sponsor licence application to be processed, during which time you will probably be visited by the Home Office Compliance Officer who will undertake a pre-licence audit. Once you have obtained a tier 2 sponsor licence it is valid for four years.


Business requirements for a Sponsor Licence

There is no requirement that the business needs to be of a particular size before applying for a tier 2 sponsor licence, or that it must have been trading for a certain amount of time. This means that start-up businesses are also eligible to apply. The business should already be legally operational, and there should be someone available and resident in the UK to deal with any queries from the Home Office UKVI. In practice, there will typically be one or two key personnel (e.g. an authorising officer, a key contact and a level 1 user) who have been appointed and working in the business. A level 1 user, oversees the day-to-day management of the Tier 2 sponsorship licence using the Sponsorship Management System (SMS).

Other requirements:

  • There should be a genuine need for the employee
  • The business HR systems can manage the sponsorship duties
  • The business is offering employment suitable for tier 2 skill requirements that meet the minimum salary guidelines


Contact our Immigration Lawyers – Tier 2 Sponsor Licence

Mann’s Solutions is an international immigration law firm with offices in London, Hong Kong, and Moscow. We are specialised in offering UK Visas and Immigration by Investment services to high net worth individuals. Our immigration lawyers are regulated by OISC (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner) and IMC (Investment Migration Council).

For further information or to discuss your circumstances in a private consultation with our immigration lawyers in London Office, please contact us at or call +44 207 993 63 46.