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Do I need to renew my Sponsor Licence?

A sponsor licence is granted for an initial period of 4 years subsequent to which a renewal application must be made. If you have any sponsored migrants working for you, you must renew your licence before it expires if you want them to continue working for you, even if you do not plan to sponsor any new migrants.

We recommend that you renew your licence early, or at least one month before the expiry date. If you apply in good time, you will have the chance to apply again if your application is rejected.

If you do not apply to renew your licence by the licence end date and it expires, you will no longer be a licensed sponsor from the date that it expired. This means that:

  • Your company will be removed from the ‘Register of licensed sponsors’
  • The Home Office will curtail (shorten) the Tier 2 leave of any migrants you are sponsoring, normally to 60 calendar days
  • You cannot assign any more Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) to any non-EEA or Swiss nationals to work with your company in the UK

What is the Sponsor Licence renewal process?

The Home Office will write to you 120 calendar days before the expiry of your licence to confirm your licence expiry date and tell you that you will soon need to apply to renew it. The Home Office will write to you again 90 calendar days before the expiry of your licence to remind you to renew your licence.

More reminders to renew your licence will be sent by the Home Office:

  • 60 calendar days before it is due to expire
  • 30 calendar days before it is due to expire
  • 14 calendar days before it is due to expire

You must apply to renew your licence using your Sponsorship Management System (SMS) account. You will be able to make your renewal application from 90 days before the expiry date of your licence.

The application to renew your sponsor licence must be submitted online by the Authorising Officer and prior to the renewal application, all of the key personnel, organisation and sponsored migrant details as recorded on your licence must be up to date. You must also ensure that you are compliant with any requirements that have been introduced since your first licence approval.

What will happen if my Sponsor Licence renewal application is accepted?

If your renewal application is accepted, the Home Office will temporarily extend the expiry date of your licence to allow time to conduct any checks deemed necessary before deciding your application.

The checks could include asking you to send documents or information. The Home Office may want to see any documents listed in Appendix A of the guidance for sponsors as mandatory documents for anyone applying for a new sponsor licence. The Home Office may also ask for other information or documents. If the Home Office write to ask for any information or documents, you must send them within 5 working days.

If you do not send the documents within this time, the Home Office will take action against you. This can include:

  • Reducing or removing your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) allocation
  • Downgrading your licence to a B-rating
  • Suspending your licence pending further investigation
  • Revoking your licence

The Home Office may visit you when you apply to renew your licence. If you are an A-rated sponsor at the time you apply and, on the visit, the Home Office have concerns about any of your actions as a sponsor, the Home Office will either:

  • Grant your application to renew your licence but downgrade it to a B-rating
  • Revoke your licence

What happens if the Sponsor Licence is downgraded to a B-rating?

A B-rating is a transitional rating. If you are a B-rated sponsor, you must improve your performance enough to be upgraded to an A-rating within a specified time limit, not exceeding 3 months. If you do not, your licence will be revoked.

If the Home Office award a B-rating, you will not be able to assign any Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) to sponsor new employees, add any new branches or a new tier to your licence until:

  • You have demonstrated your commitment to make improvements by signing up to the measures set out in an action plan
  • You have paid the action plan fee

If you are awarded a B-rating, you must adhere to the action plan which will set out the steps you must take to return to an A-rating. For example, this might include making improvements to your record-keeping, improving your control over staff who assign Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) or improving communication between your different branches.

What happens if my Sponsor Licence is revoked?

If the Home Office revoke your licence, it will:

  • Immediately curtail (shorten) the permission to stay in the UK of any migrants whom the Home Office believe were actively and knowingly involved (complicit) in the reasons for the revocation of your licence
  • Curtail (shorten) the permission to stay in the UK of any other migrants usually to 60 calendar days unless the migrant has fewer than 60 calendar days of their leave remaining
  • Cancel the entry clearance visa of any migrant who has not yet travelled to the UK
  • Refuse any settlement applications for Tier 2 migrants which are being considered

Can I apply again if my Sponsor Licence is revoked?

Once your licence has been revoked, you will be subject to a cooling-off period which prevents you from making another sponsor licence application for a period of 12-months.

Why use Setfords for Sponsor Licence renewal matters?

  • Consistently high approval rate for sponsor licence renewal applications for multinational organisations, small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups
  • We provide bespoke training and advice on all aspects of the sponsor licence renewal process
  • We can work collaboratively with you to ensure that you are compliant with any requirements and obligations that have been introduced since your first licence approval and to ensure that all of your key personnel, organisation and sponsored migrant details are up to date before the renewal application is made
  • Setfords can undertake a mock audit at your business premises prior to any renewal application being submitted to ensure that the company is compliant with its obligations
  • Cost effective service with upfront fixed fees so that clients know what to expect
  • Unwavering commitment to delivering excellent client care

We are happy to answer your enquiry by email or on the telephone and can do so outside office hours if you prefer. To receive more information, please complete the form below or call our enquiries team on 0330 058 4011.

Lawyer spotlight: Nicola Anne Wilkins

Consultant Solicitor - Business and Personal UK Immigration Law

Quotes from previous clients

“I had the pleasure to work with Nicola in relation to both my Tier 2 (General) visa and the sponsor licence application for my sponsor in the UK. It was a very complex process and I had previously been told by another Immigration Lawyer that it would not likely be possible. The minute we spoke with Nicola we felt reassured, confident and 100% supported. Nicola is extremely professional and competent, and it was a pleasure to know that she did everything possible to make both applications work. I would highly recommend Nicola to anyone. Amazing service”.

“Nicola was fantastic and helped us secure work visas for two employees from different countries. Nicola made the whole process completely painless and felt like an extended member of our team. I cannot recommend Nicola highly enough and we will 100% be using her for any further UK visa needs”.

“Nicola has proven to be a fantastic asset both in dealing with my personal immigration case, and to my company in general, which she consults on all immigration issues. Her knowledge of all of the latest UK laws and regulations is thorough, her understanding of potential trouble points is profound, and her attention to detail is exceptional. I am very grateful to Nicola for working on my case and making it such a smooth and painless process. I gladly and wholeheartedly recommend Nicola's services to my colleagues, clients, and friends and I look forward to working with Nicola again in the future”.

“I would highly recommend Nicola’s services to anyone looking for a streamlined UK visa immigration process. Nicola has been greatly supportive, every step of the way over the past few years with helping me obtain my Tier 2 sponsored visa twice and my permanent residency for the UK. She is extremely knowledgeable, professional, patient and a pleasure to work with. I will always turn to Nicola for any visa support in the future”.

“Nicola helped me to secure my work visa for the UK with ease, and, most importantly, clearly communicated the entire process so that I knew what to expect and could plan without stress. Nicola handled my case very professionally, and I found Nicola to be extremely competent”.

“I had the opportunity to work with Nicola during my Tier 2 work visa application process. Nicola demonstrated excellent knowledge, professionalism and attention to detail and made the entire process of preparing and applying for the visa as easy and stress free as possible. The process was extremely well planned and as a result, I had my visa processed and returned to me in record time. Nicola is also a great communicator and kept me updated at every step of the way so that I felt confident and supported. Overall, I am very impressed with Nicola's professionalism and I will be using Nicola's services again in the future and will recommend her to my colleagues when the opportunity arises”.