If you have a business or running an educational establishment or are a religious or sports establishment or and wish to sponsor overseas migrants to work on a temporary or long term contract or to study in the UK, you need to obtain sponsor licence from the UKBA. This is a permission from the UKBA to the UK establishment to be able to sponsor overseas migrants or students under the point based system.

The UK establishment needs to provide evidences of physical and trading existence of the business / religious establishment and are also required to maintain certain set of HR policies in order to make a successful application.

The UKBA may also visit the business premises to see whether the documents provided truly reflect the nature and the extent of the business and whether the UK establishment have got HR policies in place or not. If they are happy with all the paperwork and are satisfied with the HR policies, they can approve the application for a sponsor licence.

Once approved, they can either give an A – rated licence or a B – rated licence.

A-Category: This is issued when the UKBA finds every thing in perfect order and place and are satisfied that the UK establishment`s HR policies. Once this is issued, the UK establishment can make application to sponsor overseas workers / students.

B-Category: This is issued when the UKBA is generally satisfied that all the requirements are being met but has got concerns about some minor issues. This is a temporary stage and the UK establishment is required to follow a certain plan of actions to upgrade to category A. The issuance of a B category licence is generally followed by an approved plan of action for that particular UK establishment, that needs to be followed in order to be upgraded to A – category.

A sponsorship licence does not mean that the UK establishment can start employing or recruiting the overseas migrants / students straight away. The licence in fact makes the UK establishments eligible to apply for sponsorship certificates or certificates of acceptance (in case of educational establishments).

Highly Trusted Status: This is for educational establishments only. Those educational establishments who have got an A category sponsor licence can apply for highly trusted status. There is a very stringent assessment test to pass, for those educational establishments who wish to make this application successfully.

Important Information:

  1. Duration of Licence: The licence is issued for a period of four years and it has to be renewed upon completion of four years, if the UK establishment continues to employ / recruit overseas workers / students.
  2. Duration of the Process: If all the process goes well, it takes an average time of about 10-14 weeks for the UKBA to give their decision.
  3. Judicial Review: A refusal of sponsorship licence application does not attract full rights of appeal and the applicant (i.e. UK establishment) has either to lodge a fresh application by addressing the issues raised by the UKBA or if dissatisfied with the decision may lodge Judicial review proceedings against the decision.

What We Can Do For You?

If you wish to make a new sponsorship application or want to upgrade to A-category license or your application has been refused for some reason or wish to apply for highly trusted status, we can advise and (where permissible) represent your establishment.

We can advise you on the procedure, requirements, law and merits of the relevant application you wish to make. We have got good experience in assessing the paperwork, auditing the HR policies and identifying the shortcomings and resolving the issues.

The sponsorship licence application procedure appears to be straight forward but in fact it is not, and even a minor mistake may result in the refusal of application or dismissal of the judicial review claim, resulting in making it even more complex. It is therefore strongly advised to take professional help and leave this matter in our capable hands.

You can contact us at 02085528612 or info@nasimandcosolicitors.com and one of team members will be in touch with you shortly.

(Updated on 11th of May 2011)