Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence Guidance for Employers

The UK Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence allows UK businesses to employ non EU migrant. This affords a company a significant competitive advantage as you will have the opportunity to recruit the most appropriate person for the job. As many businesses have opted to go down the route of securing a sponsorship licence, the process has become increasingly complex. We have attempted to provide you with an overview of what to expect below.

If you are thinking of applying for the Tier 2 Sponsorship licence contact us now to speak with one of specialist immigration solicitors who will advise you on the process.

Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence process

In order to make a successful Tier 2 Sponsorship licence application an employer will need to demonstrate that:

  • You are a legitimate business/organisation working within the law of the United Kingdom;
  • There are no reasons to believe that you are a threat to immigration control in the UK; and
  • Your organisation is committed to fulfilling its sponsorship requirements.

Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship

After an employer has obtained the sponsorship licence they will need to assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to the requisite Tier 2 employee. The Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) is not a paper certificate like a work permit. It is a ‘virtual document’. The crucial part of the COS is the unique reference number which it contains.

There are two types of COS. The type of COS which is assigned is determined by whether the Tier 2 applicant is situated in the UK or overseas. If the Tier 2 applicant is situated within the UK and can switch into this category, the employer will need to assign an unrestricted COS. If the Tier 2 Applicant is located abroad, the employer will need to assign a restricted COS.

Tier 2 Sponsorship licence and the Resident Labour Test (RLMT)

In some instances an employer will need to undertake the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT). This is to ensure that they have taken all appropriate steps to try and secure a suitable candidate from within the UK. The employer will need to advertise the position in question at the appropriate salary and level for a period of 28 consecutive days before they can offer the job to a non EU migrant.

Responsibilities as a Tier 2 Sponsorship licence holder

As a Tier 2 Sponsor you have certain reporting and record keeping duties. We have listed some of the obligations below.

You must inform the UKVI if any of the following occur:

  • If the Tier 2 Sponsored Worker does not turn up for their first day of work.
  • If the Tier 2 Sponsored Worker is absent from work for more than 10 consecutive working days without your permission.
  • If the Tier 2 Sponsored Worker  has resigned or been dismissed.
  • If you cannot continue to pay the Tier 2 Sponsored Worker at the appropriate salary or if the position in which the worker was sponsored ceases to be available..
  • If you suspect the Tier 2 Sponsored Worker may be engaging in terrorism or other criminal activity.

How long is a sponsorship licence valid for?

Once the licence is issued, it is valid for four years, upon expiry of the licence you can apply to have it renewed providing you continue to meet with the requisite obligations.

Tier 2 Licensing and sponsorship costs

A fee of £536-£1,476 is payable depending on the size of your business. Please also bear in mind you will also have to pay a fee of £184 to assign the COS to the requisite Tier 2 Applicant and thereafter pay a visa processing fee for the Tier 2 General Visa application processing fee.

Revocation of a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence

A Tier 2 Sponsorship licence may be withdrawn in the following circumstances:

  • If it ceases to trade or operate as a business due to whatever reason
  • Ceasing to be accredited or registered with the appropriate body if so required to do so.
  • If the prospective sponsor or another appropriate agency is found to be an un-discharged bankrupt, or legally prohibited from becoming a Company Director.
  • If the sponsor is found to have provided forged, false documentation or information to the UKVI
  • If the sponsor has inadequate facilities to cope with the increased number of employees and no evidence was provided regarding any expansions.


The issue of revocation of sponsorship licences is dealt with in the Supreme Court case of   R (on the application of New London College Ltd) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013]. The court provided further guidance and clarity on how to adhere to your duties as a Tier 2 Sponsor. In order to avoid revocation of the sponsorship licence, the sponsor should familiarise themselves with their record keeping and compliance duties as a Tier 2 sponsor.

Illegal Worker Penalty Notice

As a Tier 2 Sponsorship licence employer you have a duty to ensure that all non EEA workers have had their documents vetted in accordance with the requisite UKVI requirements. In order to stay fully compliant, employers should follow a three step process to ascertain whether the prospective employees have the right to work in the UK:

  • obtain specific documents which establish the individual’s right to work;
  • check the validity of those documents; and
  • copy the appropriate documentation.


If you fail to adhere to the above, The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 (IANA 2006) gives the Home Office the power to issue penalty notices up to the sum of £20,000 per illegal immigrant and a possibility of receiving a custodial sentence. In addition the Home office has the power to publish business details of those found to be employing illegal workers. This will have a disastrous impact on the reputation of the organisation in question.

How Vincent Solicitors can assist you with making a successful Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence application

  • We can carry out a detailed assessment of your company to determine how you can meet with your obligations as a Tier 2 Sponsor.
  • We can work with you to ensure that you have the appropriate documentation to ensure a successful application.
  • We can work with you to ensure that you have adequate measures in place to meet with your record keeping duties as a sponsor and assist with continued compliance of requisite UK Immigration rules.
  • We can advise on the subjective requirement of the genuine vacancy requirement.


Vincent Solicitors and Affordable fees

We cater to the needs of our clients by offering affordable fees and the option of flexible payment terms. If you cannot afford to pay our fee in full at the time of your instructions, we are happy for you to pay in instalments; we will accept half of the agreed fixed fee at the time of initial instructions with the balance to be paid upon submission of the application.

Vincent Solicitors and SRA Compliance

We are a firm of solicitors that is authorised and regulated by the SRA to provide immigration advice. Your matter will be dealt with by qualified immigration solicitors from instruction through to completion of your immigration matter. Get in touch for a free initial consultation.