UK Employer Sponsorship Licence

What is the Employer Sponsorship Licence?

All UK employers wishing to hire an employee from outside the European Union or to extend the work permit of current employees must have an Employer Sponsorship Licence under the new UK immigration points-based system.

The Employer Sponsorship Licence system allows for businesses to apply for a licence in advance of recruitment drives or for further employee opportunities, particularly in occupations that are not readily available in the resident labour market. 

Without an Employer Sponsorship Licence already approved, it can take months before employers can take on a new employee.

 Click here to begin the Employer Sponsorship Licence application process

The requirement for employers to join the immigration sponsor register and be licenced to hire migrants shifts some of the burden of responsibility from the Home Office to employers.  As a sponsor, employers must meet certain duties to make sure immigration controls remain effective. 

The Employer Sponsorship Licence process allows the UK Border Agency to check that your business has sufficient record keeping and HR systems in place to prevent illegal employment.

UK immigration law requires all non-EU employees to provide documentation to prove their right to work before being employed by a UK company and copies of this information must also be retained by the employer.

Unless an employer checks that all prospective employees have the right to work in the UK, they risk breaking the law and could receive a substantial fine.

The Home Office will conduct spot checks on UK employers who hire foreign workers. Under the new UK immigration system, employers found to be in violation of their licence or with workers who are not compliant with UK immigration law may face criminal penalties.