20 September 2022

Sponsoring People to Work From Outside the UK

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Sponsoring People to Work From Outside the UK

Following the end of the Brexit transition period, the new Point-Based system (PBS) allows licenced employers to recruit overseas workers to fill vacancies. The employer must hold a valid sponsor licence in order to employ an overseas worker. With the end of Freedom of Movement, this also applies to EU workers.

The new PBS system has changed the way foreign national workers are hired. This new system treats all migrant workers equally irrespective of where they come from. In order to hire overseas-based workers, the UK employer has to meet certain requirements and obtain a sponsorship license to issue Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to foreign workers.

A UK employer has to take into account several legal considerations to sponsor an overseas worker to undertake an employment in the UK. Licenced sponsors have to comply with certain duties and responsibilities in relation to their sponsorship.

An effective HR system must be in place to monitor the sponsored worker’s immigration status, store employee details, and keep the Home Office informed about any problems/concerns regarding the sponsored employee.

Do You Need a Sponsor Licence?

As mentioned earlier, the employer will need to apply for a sponsor licence to employ workers from outside the UK. However, there is no need to get a sponsor licence in the following cases:

  • If the employer is employing Irish citizens;
  • If the employee is employing an individual with a pre-settled or a settled status under EUSS;
  • If the employee is employing an individual who has Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK.

Types of Sponsor Licence

The type of license the employer has to apply depends on the employment term and the workers required to fill certain vacancies. There are two types of Sponsor Licence and the employer must apply for the right one to assign a CoS.

  • Worker – This type of sponsor licence is for long-term employment. It is used to employ Specialist Workers, Skilled Workers, International Sportsperson, and Ministries of Religion.
  • Temporary Worker – As the name implies, this type of licence is used for hiring workers temporarily. It is used for hiring Graduate Trainees, Service Suppliers, Scale Up Workers, UK Expansion Workers, and Secondment workers.

The UK company can apply for either or both licences depending on the business’s needs.

Eligibility Requirements

The organisation has to satisfy the Home Office that they are trading and operating lawfully in the UK and capable of complying with the sponsorship duties and responsibilities. Furthermore, the company must have effective HR systems and recruitment practices.

It should be shown to the Home Office that the key personnel of the organisation are honest and reliable and are not involved in any criminal activities. If the employer meets the requirements, they will be granted a sponsorship licence which can be used to assign a CoS to prospective employees.

Applying for Sponsor Licence

UK employers have to submit an online application for a Sponsor Licence using the designated form. The applicant has to pay the application fee, the cost of issuing CoS, and the Immigration Skills charge.

The application processing time is about 8 weeks, however, an applicant can ask to get a faster a decision in 10 days by paying an additional fee of £500 (priority service). The application processing time depends on whether the Home Office will require additional information/documentation from the applicant and/or whether any compliance visit will be carried out by the Home Office.


The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Connaught Law and authors accept no responsibility for loss that may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Connaught Law. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Connaught Law.

About the Author

A talented and dedicated public relations professional, Riaz, has more than 14 years of experience helping organisations communicate more effectively. He has developed strategic communications plans garnered extensive media coverage, produced marketing materials coordinated special events, and hosted other communications activities.

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