Any UK based company that wants to employ a non-EU or non-EEU Tier 2 visa applicant must hold a Tier 2 Sponsorship licence.
There are many types of sponsorship licences. The most common one is the Tier 2 General licence, which is the route most skilled workers have to use to enter the UK.
A foreign worker cannot simply apply to come and work in the UK; they need a job offer from a UK-based employer with a sponsorship licence.
The employer needs to apply to the Home Office to get a Tier 2 Sponsorship licence. The licence is valid for 4 years and must be renewed before it expires.
Once a company obtains a sponsorship licence, it can issue certificates of sponsorship (CoS) which is required as part of the applicant’s immigration application under Tier 2 of the points-based system.
Requirements for an employer to obtain a sponsorship licence
To obtain a sponsorship licence, the employer must be eligible and suitable to fulfil its sponsor duties.
To be eligible for a sponsorship licence, the employer must provide evidence to show that it is a genuine employer that is lawfully trading in the UK.
The Home Office will assess the employer to decide if the company is honest, dependable reliable, and capable of meeting the responsibilities expected of a sponsor. The following will be taken into account when assessing the suitability criteria:
Employers who want to apply for a sponsorship licence must provide certain documents to establish their credibility. The list of supporting documents is set out in Table 1-4 in Appendix A of the Guidance for Sponsors.
In most cases, the employer must provide at least 4 documents from the list of possible documents. The required documents depend on the category of sponsorship the employer is applying for.
For Tier 2 General sponsorship, the employer must provide the following information, as well as at least 4 documents from Table 1-4.
Table 4 then provides a list of other documents that could be provided if the employer has not found 4 documents in Table 1-3 yet. Table 4 includes documents to show evidence of the following:
From January 2021 EU nationals not already living in the UK, might also need sponsorship.
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