Generally, for any overseas person to be able to come to the UK, he/or she needs to be sponsored by another person or organization who is legally resident in the UK. An individual may sponsor their partner or child whereas a company may sponsor an employee. The party on whose basis the overseas national is coming to the UK is called the sponsor.


For an employer to sponsor a non-European (non EEA), such an employer is required to ‘sponsor’ them under the Tier 2 Point based System. This requires the employer to apply for a sponsor licence from the UKBA.


An education provider on the other hand who wishes to enrol students from outside the European Economic Area is also required to ‘sponsor’ them under the Tier 4 Point based system. They are also required to obtain a Tier 4 sponsor licence from the UKBA.


The requirements for obtaining a sponsor licence varies with the type of organisation. It is however important that the prospective sponsoring organisation must be a genuine organisation or sole trader legally operating in the United Kingdom.

Sponsor Licence Requirements



In order to be able to obtain a sponsorship licence, the employer or business will need to meet the following requirements: –


·      A genuine organisation: – As obvious as it may sound, it is important that businesses that seek to employ overseas workers must be genuine in every sense of the word. The definitions of what a genuine business is will in the broader sense include its registration status, either as a limited liability company, partnership, sole trader, etc. It will also include its accounting (payroll, tax, etc.) as well as human resource structures.


·      Operating in the UK: The business must also be legally operating in the United Kingdom.



·      No threat to immigration control: It is also important that the business’ key personnel do not pose a threat to immigration control. This means that it might be harder for individuals with adverse immigration history or there are evidences that suggests that the key personnel may pose a threat to immigration control. Posing a threat to immigration control means that such an individual may have had a history of violating immigration rules.


·      Persons to fulfil immigration related roles: There must be persons within the organisation who will be fulfilling the immigration related roles in the organisation. These persons are sometimes referred to as the Account/Compliance Officers. 


The immigration related roles include: –


·      An authorised officer

·      A key contact

·      A level 1 user


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