20 January 2020

Employers wishing to employ workers under a Tier 2 work visa must first obtain a sponsor licence from the Home Office. Once obtained, the sponsor licence will be valid for 4 years, after which time the sponsor must apply to renew its licence. For those employers who obtained a licence in 2008 when the points-based system was introduced, 2020 will be a renewal year.

If an employer fails to renew its licence and it expires, it will no longer be a licensed sponsor from the date that the licence expires. This will mean that any migrants who the employer is currently sponsoring will have their leave curtailed by the Home Office to 60 days. The employer will also lose the ability to sponsor any new migrants.

The renewal application is straightforward – it involves a short online application form which is submitted via the Sponsor Management System (the online portal which organisations have access to once they become a sponsor).

Once the sponsor has submitted its application, the Home Office may write to the sponsor to request that it provide documents or further information and, if such a request is made, the sponsor must provide any documents or information requested within 5 working days. If the sponsor fails to provide the documents/information requested by the Home Office in this time frame, the Home Office may take action against the sponsor, including suspending or revoking the sponsor’s licence.

Whilst in practice it is rare for the Home Office to request any documents or information as part of the renewal process, given the potentially serious consequences of failing to provide the relevant documents or information in time, a sponsor should ensure that, as a minimum, it locates the following documents before it submits its application:

  1. The original documents submitted as part of the original sponsor licence application.
  2. Updated copies of any documents submitted as part of the sponsor licence application. For example, if a bank statement was provided as part of the initial sponsor licence application, the sponsor ought to be prepared to provide its most recent bank statement upon request.

If the sponsor has not retained the documents it submitted as part of its original sponsor licence application, it would be well advised to locate a minimum of 4 new documents which meet the requirements set out in Sponsor Guidance Appendix A and be prepared to explain why it has not retained the original documents.

For more information around immigration services, please visit our Immigration Expertise page.

Key contact

Headshot of Adrian Martin

Adrian Martin Partner

  • Head of Employment
  • TUPE: Business Transfers and Outsourcing
  • Restructuring and Redundancy

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