Working in the UK

Register of Licenced Sponsors for Worker and Temporary Workers

The Register of Licenced Sponsors, formerly known as the Tier 2 sponsor list, plays a vital role in the UK’s immigration system. It is a publicly available database with all UK organisations holding valid sponsorship licences. In this blog post, we will delve into the details of this register and explore its significance for both employers and sponsored workers.

Register of licenced sponsors

Table of Contents

What is the Register of Licenced Sponsors? 

The Register of Licenced Sponsors is a compilation of organisations authorised by the Home Office to employ sponsored workers under various visa routes, including the Skilled Worker visa, Intra-Company Transfer visa, and other temporary worker visas. It is a crucial resource for employers seeking to hire non-UK resident workers and individuals looking for employment opportunities in the UK.

Purpose and Importance

Maintained by the Home Office, the sponsorship list ensures transparency and accountability in the immigration system. Organisations comply with the requirements and obligations associated with sponsoring foreign workers by being included in the register. It assures both employers and sponsored workers, fostering a regulated and fair employment environment.

The number of Licenced Sponsors

The Register of Licenced Sponsors currently boasts a substantial database of over 32,000 organisations. This diverse range of sponsors spans various sectors and industries, reflecting the wide scope of employment opportunities available in the UK. From multinational corporations to small businesses, each sponsor has undergone the necessary scrutiny and met the standards set by the Home Office.

Benefits for Employers and Workers

Being on the register allows employers to recruit and employ talented individuals from outside the UK to fill specific roles that the domestic labour market cannot easily fulfil. It grants access to a wider pool of skilled workers, facilitating business growth and innovation.

The register serves as a valuable resource for sponsored workers to identify legitimate and reputable employers. It ensures their potential employers have the authorisation to offer employment and support their visa applications. Being employed by a licenced sponsor enhances their immigration prospects and provides a sense of security in their employment journey.

Understanding the Sponsor Licence

Before applying for a UK sponsorship visa, it is essential to have a sponsoring employer in place. The sponsor licence enables organisations to sponsor individuals and issue them a Certificate of Sponsorship, which is a vital document for obtaining a visa from the Home Office.

Exploring the Sponsor Licence List

The Home Office maintains a comprehensive sponsor list that includes each licenced organisation’s full name and address. This information is invaluable in your search for a potential sponsor, as it allows you to narrow down your options based on location and other preferences.

Types of Sponsorship and Visa Routes

The sponsor licence list also provides insights into the type of licence held by each organisation, distinguishing between Worker and Temporary Worker categories. Furthermore, it specifies the visa routes that a sponsor can support, such as Skilled Workers, Intra Company Transfers, Creative & Sporting, Minister of Religion, Religious Workers, T2 Sportsperson, Voluntary Workers, Government Authorised Exchange, and International Agreements.

  • Skilled Workers – for skilled workers to be employed long-term.
  • Intra Company Transfers – for multinational companies which need to transfer employees to the UK.
  • Creative & Sporting – for short-term sportsperson, entertainer or artist work.
  • Minister of Religion – for people coming to work for a religious organisation
  • Religious Workers – for those doing preaching, pastoral and non-pastoral work.
  • T2 Sportsperson – for elite sportspeople and coaches who will be based in the UK
  • Voluntary Workers – for unpaid voluntary work for a charity.
  • Government Authorised Exchange – work experience (1 year), research projects or training, for example, practical medical or scientific training (2 years) to enable a short-term knowledge exchange.
  • International Agreements – where the worker is coming to do a job covered by international law, for example, employees of overseas governments.

Using the Register of Licenced Sponsors

To use the register, visit the official Home Office website and access the register of licenced sponsors. From there, you can search for sponsors based on various criteria, including location and the specific visa route you are interested in.

Benefits of the Sponsor Licence List

Utilising the sponsor licence list streamlines the process of finding a suitable sponsor. It provides transparency and confidence that the organisations listed have met the requirements and are authorised to sponsor individuals for visa purposes. Focusing your efforts on licenced sponsors increases your chances of securing sponsorship and progressing with your visa application.

Understanding Sponsorship Ratings and the Importance of the Register of Sponsors

  • Sponsorship Rating: A-rated vs. B-rated 

When a company’s sponsorship licence is approved, it is granted an A-rated sponsor licence. This rating allows the company to issue Certificates of Sponsorship and hire eligible migrant workers. However, if the Home Office identifies breaches in sponsor licence compliance, the sponsorship rating may be downgraded to B-rated as a penalty.

  • Implications of a B-rated Sponsor Licence 

Companies with a B-rated sponsor licence face restrictions. They are not permitted to issue new Certificates of Sponsorship until they regain an A rating. To regain the A-rating, the company must demonstrate that they have rectified and improved the issues that led to the downgrade. Therefore, individuals cannot pursue new employment and sponsorship with a company holding a B-rated licence until they regain an A-rating.

The Register of Sponsors is crucial for employers and individuals seeking sponsorship. It serves as a publicly accessible record, allowing individuals to verify if a company has a valid sponsor licence. Companies must be listed on the register before legally issuing Certificates of Sponsorship to migrant workers.

Companies Not Listed on the Sponsor List 

A company can initiate the recruitment process for a role without being listed on the sponsor list. However, to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to a migrant worker, the company must obtain a sponsor licence and be included on the Register of Sponsors.

Job Eligibility

Finding a sponsor is just one aspect of obtaining a UK sponsorship visa. The job itself must also meet the requirements of the specific visa route you are applying under. Let’s take a closer look at the eligibility criteria:

  1. Skilled Worker Visa Requirements: If you are applying for a Skilled Worker visa, the role you are offered must meet certain criteria, including:
  • Requiring a skill level of RQF level 3 or above.
  • Offering a salary that meets or exceeds the minimum salary requirement.
  • Being listed on the eligible occupations list.

Applying for a Sponsorship Visa: 

Once you have secured sponsorship from a UK employer, you will need to fulfil the visa criteria and complete the appropriate application process. The Skilled Worker visa is the most common work visa in the UK.

To be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa, you must accumulate a total of 70 points. These points can be obtained through a combination of the following:

  • Having a valid job offer from a licenced sponsor (20 points).
  • Meeting the English language requirement (10 points).
  • Meeting the appropriate salary threshold or having a job on the shortage occupation list (20 points).
  • Completing the required skill level (20 points).

By fulfilling these criteria and earning the necessary points, you can increase your chances of eligibility for a Skilled Worker visa.

Skilled Worker Requirement Points Mandatory or Tradeable
A genuine job offer from a licensed sponsor
Speaks English at the required level
Job offer is at a skill level of RQF3 or above
Salary of £20,480 to £23,039 or at least 80% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)
Salary of £23,040 to £25,599 or at least 90% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)
Salary of £25,600 or above or at least the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)
Job in a shortage occupation as designated by the Migration Advisory Committee
Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the job
Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job

The UK Shortage Occupation List serves as a compilation of job roles that are in high demand but face a shortage of available workforce in the UK market. Applying for a job on the shortage occupation list carries a tradeable 20 points for skilled workers and may have a lower visa application cost.

The Migration Advisory Committee regularly reviews the list, advising the Government to add or remove jobs based on changes in the UK labour market.

Meeting the English language requirement can be fulfilled in various ways:

  • If you are a citizen of a majority English-speaking country.
  • If you hold a degree equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s degree or higher, taught or researched in English.
  • If you have passed a recognised English language test with a minimum B1 score on the Council of Europe’s common European framework for language and learning.
  • If you have previously met the English language requirement during a previous grant of leave in the UK.

Regarding maintenance funds, most sponsors guarantee the first month of employment in the UK for their prospective employees mentioned on the Certificate of Sponsorship. Only A-rated companies on the sponsor list have this privilege.

If there is no sponsor guarantee, the applicant must provide evidence of having access to sufficient funds.

Once you have accumulated enough points, your sponsor can assign you a Certificate of Sponsorship. This unique reference number is used for your visa application. It’s important to note that CoSs are non-transferable, both between candidates and employers.

For a successful Skilled Worker visa application, it is advisable to collaborate closely with your prospective employer, especially if they have experience hiring sponsored workers. They can assist you throughout the Home Office visa application process.

Points-based visas like the Skilled Worker visa also allow spouses, partners, and dependent children to accompany the applicant to the UK. It’s essential to discuss this aspect with your sponsor from the beginning.

By familiarising yourself with the UK Shortage Occupation List and understanding the visa application process, you can more effectively secure a Skilled Worker visa. Working closely with your sponsor and considering all relevant factors will contribute to a smoother and more successful application experience.

Register of Licenced Sponsors FAQs

A Tier 2 sponsor refers to an organisation or employer with a valid Tier 2 Sponsor Licence issued by the UK Home Office. This licence allows the organisation to sponsor non-EEA (European Economic Area) and non-Swiss nationals for skilled employment in the UK under the Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) visa category.

Obtaining a sponsorship visa can be complex and requires careful attention to detail. How difficult it is to get a sponsorship visa will depend on your skill set, qualifications and industry. Some occupations are in short supply in the UK, with many vacancies for suitable candidates at any time.

To obtain a sponsorship visa in the UK, also known as a Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) visa, you typically need to find a sponsor, check eligibility, complete the online application, gather supporting documents, and pay the required fees.

The cost of sponsoring a Skilled Worker visa in the UK can vary depending on various factors, including the sponsoring organisation's size and the application's specific circumstances. Issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship to a skilled worker costs £199. This is in addition to the visa application fee and the sponsor licence costs. It is recommended to consult the official UK government website or seek professional advice from an immigration specialist to get the most accurate and up-to-date information on fees.

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