Navigating Sponsor Licence Compliance Challenges in the UK

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By Sanwar Ali:


  1. Introduction
  2. Sponsor Licence Compliance: An Overview
  3. Certificate of Sponsorship
  4. Right-to-Work Checks
  5. Record-Keeping and Reporting
  6. Human Resources Policies and Procedures
  7. Sponsor Licence Inspections
  8. Sponsor Licence Compliance Challenges
  9. Best Practices for Maintaining Sponsor Licence Compliance
  10. Conclusion


As a sponsor licence holder in the UK, it is vital to maintain compliance with the immigration rules and regulations to avoid potential issues and maintain the right to continue sponsoring migrant workers. This comprehensive guide covers key aspects of sponsor licence compliance, including common challenges and best practices for skilled worker sponsors in the UK visa system.

Sponsor licence compliance is crucial for businesses employing immigrants under the UK visa system. Ensuring compliance involves meeting the requirements set by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and adhering to sponsor licence obligations.

Sponsor Licence Obligations

Sponsor licence holders must comply with various obligations, including:

  1. Ensuring the sponsored worker has a valid certificate of sponsorship
  2. Conducting right-to-work checks
  3. Maintaining accurate records and reporting any changes
  4. Implementing compliant human resources policies and procedures

Failure to meet these obligations may result in sponsor licence suspension, revocation, or other penalties.

Certificate of Sponsorship

A certificate of sponsorship is needed to sponsor each skilled worker. The certificate of sponsorship number should be provided to each sponsored worker, which they use when applying for a visa.

Allocating Certificates

Sponsor licence holders need to apply for certificates of sponsorship to sponsor workers. They need to request a certificate of sponsorhip from UKVI, for each skilled workers they plan to sponsor.

Monitoring Certificates

It is essential for sponsors to monitor their certificate of sponsorship allocation and usage. They must report any unused certificates.

Right-to-Work Checks

Sponsor licence holders must conduct right-to-work checks to ensure their sponsored workers have the legal right to work in the UK. This includes verifying the worker's identity, checking their immigration status, and retaining copies of relevant documents.

Right-to-Work Check Process

  1. Obtain original documents, such as passports or biometric residence permits
  2. Verify the authenticity of the documents
  3. Make and retain copies of the documents
  4. Record the date of the check and any follow-up checks required

Record-Keeping and Reporting

Sponsor licence holders must maintain accurate records and report any changes to UKVI. This includes updating information on the Sponsor Management System (SMS) and retaining necessary documentation.

Record-Keeping Requirements

Sponsors must keep records of:

  1. Sponsored worker's contact details
  2. Job title and job description
  3. Right-to-work checks and visa expiry dates
  4. Salary and payslips
  5. Absences and sick leave

Reporting Requirements

Sponsors must report any changes or events to UKVI, such as:

  1. Changes in job title or salary
  2. Termination of employment
  3. Absence without leave for more than 10 consecutive working days
  4. Changes in the sponsor's address or contact details

Human Resources Policies and Procedures

Implementing compliant human resources policies and procedures is essential for sponsor licence compliance. These policies should cover topics such as recruitment, employee rights, and record-keeping.


Sponsors should keep detailed records of all recruitment methods used, including job advert, all correspondence with job applicants, and reasons why the applicants were unsuitable

Employee Rights

Sponsors must ensure their sponsored workers receive the same rights and benefits as their other employees, including equal pay, working conditions, and access to training.

Record-Keeping Procedures

Sponsors should have a system in place to maintain accurate and up-to-date records of their sponsored workers, including contact details, right-to-work checks, and visa expiry dates.

Sponsor Licence Inspections

Sponsor licence holders may be subject to inspections by UKVI to ensure compliance with their obligations. These inspections may be announced or unannounced and can involve a review of records, interviews with key personnel, and site visits.

Preparing for Inspections

Sponsors should:

  1. Regularly review and update their records
  2. Ensure all staff are aware of their sponsor licence obligations
  3. Conduct internal audits to identify and address any compliance issues

Sponsor Licence Compliance Challenges

Sponsor licence holders may face various challenges in maintaining compliance, including:

  1. Keeping up-to-date with changing immigration rules and regulations
  2. Ensuring accurate record-keeping and reporting
  3. Implementing effective human resources policies and procedures

Best Practices for Maintaining Sponsor Licence Compliance

To maintain sponsor licence compliance, businesses should:

  1. Stay informed about changes in immigration rules and regulations
  2. Regularly review and update their records
  3. Implement effective human resources policies and procedures
  4. Provide training and support to staff involved in sponsorship activities
  5. Seek professional advice when needed


Sponsor licence compliance is crucial for businesses employing skilled workers under the UK visa system. By adhering to the obligations set by UKVI and implementing effective human resources policies and procedures, businesses can maintain their sponsor licence privileges and avoid potential issues. can help with Sponsor Licences

If you need help with employing Skilled Workers and help to apply for a Sponsor Licence, including complying with your Sponsor Licence obligations, can help.

For more information and advice please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at