Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence

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You may Sponsor workers, from outside the European Union, to work in your UK business. However, you must first obtain the Home Office’s permission by submitting an application to be granted a Tier Sponsorship Licence. A Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence would enable a UK business to Sponsor workers from outside the European Union to fill certain roles within the business.

The Sponsorship Licence is supposed to enable UK businesses to fill in genuine vacancies within the UK business with workers recruited from outside the European Union. When Sponsoring workers from overseas, the UK employer will need to demonstrate that the role which it wants to fill with overseas workers cannot be filled with a suitably qualified or skilled worker who is already settled in the UK. In addition to that, the UK business must also undertake to comply with all its duties and responsibilities as a Tier 2 Sponsor.

Eligibility for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence

To succeed in an application for a Sponsor Licence, the UK business will need to demonstrate, on an application to the Home Office, that:

  • The UK business is a genuine organisation, which is operating lawfully in the UK;
  • That the UK business is being managed by owners, who are dependable, reliable and honest and can demonstrate that they will be able to comply with the duties and responsibilities attached to a Sponsorship Licence in a timely manner;
  • That the UK business, applying for Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, has the ability to offer genuine employment that can satisfy the Tier 2 (General) skills level and appropriate rates of pay.

When submitting an application for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, the UK business will need to demonstrate that it meets the test of reliability, honesty and dependability by providing the necessary documents in support of the application for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence. The documents you provide in support of your application will depend entirely on the nature of your organisation, such as whether you are a Government organisations, a local authority, a charitable organisation or a for profit organisation. In the case of businesses, the documents you will need to submit in support of an application will also depend on the nature of the business as well as the length of time the business has been operation for. You may refer to Appendix A, annexed to the Immigration Rules for details of the specific documents you need to provide in support of an application for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence based on the type of business that you are running (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/672691/Appendix_A_01-2018_v1.0.pdf).

Information in support of application for Tier 2 Sponsor Licence

In an application for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, you will be required, by the Home Office, to provide the following information:

  • The reasons as to why you are applying for a Sponsor Licence. In other words, you are unable to fill in the required positions within your organisation with UK settled workers;
  • Which sector your business operates within;
  • You businesses opening times during the week;
  • A detailed list of the personnel hierarchy within your business, such as details of the owners, directors, managers and shareholders within the business;
  • If your business employs less than 50 employees, you will also be expected to provide a list of all of the employees within your business and provide their names and titles;
  • What roles within your business you wish to assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) to, i.e., which roles need filling with the Sponsoring of foreign (Non-EEA) workers. This information should include:
    • job title and Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code;
    • the duties and responsibilities attached to each role (that requires filling);
    • an indication of where each role, that needs filing, would sit within your organisational hierarchy;
    • an indication what salary the Sponsored employees would command;
    • an indication of the level of skills, insights and experience required for the roles you are looking to fill in your business;
    • You must indicate which jobs are currently vacant and for which you intend to assign a CoS.
    • If you have already identified a worker to fill in a specific role within your business, you need to provide evidence of how you identified him/her as suitable for the role. If you have identified this person through recruitment agencies, you must provide evidence of advertisements placed on various sites;
    • If you have not advertised for the role but have identified a suitable candidate, you should provide some information on how you concluded that this person would be suitable for the role.

Assessment of suitability for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence

The starting position for the Home Office’s assessment of your business’ suitability for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence is to ascertain whether the people running the business can be deemed, on the basis of evidence provide, to be honest, dependable, and reliable. This assessment will be carried out by the Home Office with reference to your business’ history, background, financial performance, regulatory compliance and an assessment of the past performance and credentials of the people running your business. When considering your business’ application for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, the Home Office will be anxious to find reassurances, based on evidence, that if granted a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence your business will be able to comply with the duties and responsibilities that are attached to a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence.

Therefore, it is recommended that you take sufficient steps to satisfy the Home Office, in an application, that your business will be a dependable, reliable and honest Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder that can comply with its responsibilities and does not engage in activities which will be a violation of the terms of the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence. The Home Office will also, as part of the consideration of the application, carry out a ‘genuineness’ test by assessing the role which you wish to employ a foreign national for, how this would fit within your business and whether you can fill in this role by employing a UK settled worker.

Resident Labour Market Test

When considering an application for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, the Home Office will expect the applicant business to pass the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) which is a key component of the Tier 2 (General) recruitment process. The Resident Labour Market Test was created to protect the settled UK force in the job market by requiring businesses to take steps to fill any roles within the organisation with workers from within the UK job market before considering workers from outside the EEA. Under the RLMT scheme, a UK employer will need to demonstrate, with evidence, that they have searched the Resident Labour Market (UK settled workforce) to find a suitable candidate to fill in the ‘vacant’ position but that they have been unable to find a suitable candidate from within the UK settled workforce. In addition to providing evidence that the vacancy cannot be filled by a UK settled worker, the Tier 2 Sponsor applicant will also need to show that the position it is seeking to fill with an overseas worker is skilled and meets all the requirements to justify an overseas worker being Sponsored to work in the UK under the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence.

By Jahed Morad at Gulbekian Andonian Solicitors


Jahed is an experienced lawyer whose practice comprises of immigration, employment, and commercial law. Jahed is also an avid writer who enjoys sharing insights and tactical know-how relating to his areas of expertise.

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