Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Application – How to apply

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Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Guide is split into the following sections:

Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Introduction

A UK based organisation that wishes to employ a non EU or EEA visa applicant in the UK on a Tier 2 visa must have a valid Tier 2 sponsor licence, but many Tier 2 sponsor licence applications are rejected every year due to errors – such as failing to provide the correct documentation and information required, or failing a site visit from Home Office officials – meaning lost working hours and repeat applications.

There are two types of Tier 2 Sponsor Licences.  The Tier 2 General sponsor licence and Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer sponsor licence.  The employer can apply for both at the same time or apply for them at different times.  The advantage of the Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer sponsor licence compared to the Tier 2 General version, is that for companies with an oversea office wishing to transfer the employee to the UK it is frequently quicker.  However, unlike the Tier 2 General visa category, the Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa does not usually lead to indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

In many cases to employ applicants on a Tier 2 General visa the employer also has to do a Resident Labour Market Test.  This is not necessary under the Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa scheme. In a number of cases it may be best to do the resident labour market test first before applying for a Tier 2 sponsor licence.  However, this is not strictly necessary.  In some cases to save time you may wish to apply for a Tier 2 sponsor licence immediately.

Workpermit.com's team of visa experts can show you how to obtain a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence by meeting all the conditions of your Tier 2 Sponsor application first time.

Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Business Requirements

There is no requirement that the business in the UK needs to be at a particular size to apply for a Tier 2 sponsor licence, or that it should have been trading for any particular period of time. The business should be operational, and there should be someone resident in the UK and available, to deal with any queries from UK Visa and Immigration at the Home Office.

In practice the business would probably have say one or two or more people working in the business already.  While not strictly necessary it may be an idea to have a separate office for the business. There should be a genuine need for the Tier 2 visa employee. The employee sponsored as a Tier 2 visa employee cannot be a Level 1 User for the Sponsor Licence with the ability to assign Certificates of Sponsorship for Tier 2 visa employees. Sponsor Management Service users for the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence also cannot sponsor close relatives including their husband, wife, partner, brother, sister, father, mother, etc. 

Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Applications

In order to sponsor applicants, an employer will need to be on the register of licenced sponsors with UK Visas and Immigration. The Tier 2 Registration process can be quite difficult.  In many cases under the Tier 2 General visa scheme you will have to also do the resident labour market test. The employer will need to submit an online application and provide a number of original documents or certified copies of documents by post, in order to apply for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, and must accept a considerable number of responsibilities as a Tier 2 Sponsor.  In addition, the employer should send a detailed covering letter probably several pages long to UK Visa with the documents to the Home Office answering various questions.

The documents need to be submitted by post within five working days of submitting the online application.  In many if not most cases employers make mistakes when submitting documents to UK Visa and Immigration.  Please see below details of typical documents required for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence application.

Usually, you will need to have at least four of the following, which in most cases need to be ORIGINAL documents or CERTIFIED copies (accounts can be provided via a link to the Companies House site) to submit to the Home Office:

1) Lease or rental agreement for office premises.   All signatures should appear in this document.

2) Business bank statements. Perhaps over six months.

3) VAT and/or NI and PAYE registration document.   It may be possible to have documents certified if documents are online or enclosed as attachments in emails.

4) Latest Annual accounts.  It is usually acceptable just to have a link to the accounts on the Companies House site.

5) Employers liability insurance certificate (at least £5 million)

Where relevant you need to provide original documents, or the documents need to be certified by the issuing authority, or by a practicing barrister or by a solicitor or a notary.   You need a minimum of four documents.   It may be possible to provide alternative documents in some cases. 

Please see the guidelines below for providing certified copies of documents:

…Each page of a document submitted must be certified, clearly detailing the certifier’s name, signature and the organisation that they represent.

If a document has more than one page we will accept the document if the pages are stapled or otherwise attached together and the top page is certified as described above.

The certification must also clearly state how many pages have been certified. If a certifier’s details cannot be verified, the document will be rejected. Printouts of PDF files are copies of an original document and must be certified in line with guidelines above. The certifier must confirm that they have seen the original email containing the file…

If you are providing certified documents it would be advisable to have the full name of the certifier including address and telephone number.

If the Tier 2 sponsor application is successful the employer will have to keep good employment related records and notify the Home Office of changes relating to Tier 2 employees.

Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship

The Tier 2 sponsor will need to grant the applicant a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) before they can apply for leave to enter the UK, or remain in the UK, under a Tier 2 visa. The Certificate of Sponsorship is confirmation by the employer that they wish to employ a tier 2 visa migrant and that the employee will be paid at the salary as stated in the CoS.  The employer will meet their obligations under the tier 2 visa system.  It is easier if the employer wishes to employ someone currently based in the UK who is able to switch to a tier 2 visa from within the UK.  In most cases Tier 2 visa applicants who can apply from within the UK for a visa need an unrestricted CoS. If the Tier 2 visa applicants needs to apply for a visa from outside the UK then the employer will need to apply for a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship which is allocated on a quota system and is more difficult to obtain. Tier 2 visa applicants also need to make sure that they gain enough points under the tier 2 visa points system.

Sponsorship Duties

The Sponsor has a number of record keeping and reporting duties for the applicants that it sponsors.

1. Record Keeping Duties:

  • Copy of the identification page of the applicant's passport.

  • UK immigration status document if not in the passport

  • Copy of Migrants Biometric Residence Card

  • Migrant's contact details

  • Copy of the Migrant's National Insurance Number

2. Reporting Duties:

UK Visas and Immigration must be informed of the following:

  • If a sponsored migrant does not turn up for his or her first day of work

  • If a sponsored migrant is absent from work for more than 10 working days, without the sponsor's reasonably granted permission

  • If a sponsored migrant's period of employment has ended as a result of the migrant resigning or being dismissed

  • If any registration that the sponsored migrant needs to work in the UK (such as with a governing body) is ended

  • If the sponsor stops sponsoring the migrant for any other reason (eg if the migrant moves into another immigration route that does not require a sponsor)

  • If there are any significant changes in the migrant's circumstances (eg change of job or salary excluding annual pay rise)

  • If the Sponsor has any information which suggests that the migrant is breaching the conditions of his or her leave

  • If the Sponsor has any information which suggests that the migrant may be engaging in terrorism or other criminal activity (The Sponsor must also pass any such information to the Police).


Workpermit.com's team of UK visa experts can help with Tier 2 sponsor licence applications in the following ways:

  • A consultation to determine if a Tier 2 Sponsor application is the best choice for your business

  • Completing and checking your Tier 2 Sponsor licence application form(s)

  • Managing and submitting all the appropriate supporting documents for your Tier 2 Sponsor application

  • Preparing a lengthy and detailed covering letter dealing with the additional information required 

  • Guidance on your employment and HR practices to make sure they comply with UK Visas and Immigration's Tier 2 Sponsor conditions

  • Advice  on passing UK Visas and Immigration Tier 2 tests and site visits– both before and after your Tier 2 Sponsor application

Workpermit.com's team of specialists has over thirty years of experience in immigration services, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the UK. We work with clients under Section 84 of the 1999 immigration act and can submit your UK Tier 2 sponsorship licence Application and visa application to UK Visas and Immigration at the Home Office. 

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at london@workpermit.com