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October 20, 2020

Tier 2 Sponsor License: Management and Appointing an Authorising Officer

Once a Tier 2 sponsor license application is approved, and the sponsor licence is issued, the employer is given access to the online UK Visa and Immigration system called the sponsorship management system (SMS).

As a sponsor, the employer has specific duties such as record keeping, reporting, monitoring and co-operating with the Home Office. SMS allows the employer to manage day-to-day sponsorship duties, responsibilities and activities relating to the Tier 2 General sponsorship.

The system can be used to:

  • Request new certificates of sponsorship.
  • Report changes in the circumstances of sponsored employees.
  • Report changes in the circumstances of the sponsor.
  • Renew certificates of sponsorship.
  • Report a migrant who fails to show up for work on the first day.
  • Report absence from work for a certain time.
  • Report if the migrant is promoted, or;
  • the core duties change, or;
  • there is a change in salary, and so on.

Managing the sponsorship licence is an important responsibility, and the employer needs to appoint someone within the business to fulfil sponsorship management roles.

Authorising officer – Tier 2 Sponsor Licence

One of the management roles that needs to be fulfilled is the role of the authorising officer.

The authorising officer has overall responsibility for managing the sponsorship licence and ensure that the sponsor is not in breach of any sponsor duties.

The person appointed to the role must be the most senior person responsible for the recruitment of migrant workers. If you do not recruit the workers you sponsor, the authorising officer must be the most senior person responsible for your activity as a licensed sponsor. It should be a person that understands the importance of this role and that the sponsor can trust with the responsibility.

The authorising officer must be:

  • An employee of the sponsor and cannot be an external party.
  • Based in the UK for the duration of the term as authorising officer.

The authorising officer must be a suitable person and must not:

  • Have an unspent criminal conviction.
  • Be subject to bankruptcy restrictions.
  • Have previous immigration violations.
  • Have past non-compliance issues with sponsor or immigration rules.

Sponsors also need a key contact and a level 1 user on the SMS. Having a level 2 user is optional. Despite being responsible for the actions of all SMS users, the authorising officer does not have automatic access to the SMS. To access the system, the authorising officer must be set up as a level 1 or level 2 user.  Often this means, one person has two roles.

The authorising officer is responsible for ensuring that the key contact and other level 1 and 2 users are competent to manage the sponsored employees and use the sponsorship management system. It is therefore essential that the authorising officer reviews the activities on the SMS regularly, and approves any requests for changes on the SMS.

Authorising officers must be available to meet with immigration officers on visits and must be familiar with the HR processes and systems of the sponsor. They are usually the first point of contact for UK Visa and Immigration.

The sponsor must have an authorising officer in place for the duration of the Sponsorship licence. If the authorising officer leaves the organisation, the SMS must be updated as soon as possible and no later than within 10 working days.

The sponsor is ultimately responsible for the actions of the authorising officer.


You can request consultation from our immigration lawyers over the phone as in person.

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

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