Holding a sponsor licence allows businesses to employ migrant workers within suitably skilled roles. There are many responsibilities and duties which apply to sponsors, including the requirement to renew your sponsor licence before its expiry date. It is extremely important that sponsors do not fail to renew their licence as, if you are found to still be sponsoring workers without a valid licence, this could result in compliance action, such as having your licence rating downgraded, or even suspended or revoked. It is also likely that your sponsored employees' permission to live in the UK will be curtailed.
A sponsor licence is valid for 4 years and therefore needs to be renewed before the end of this period. Sponsors can apply to renew their licence from 3 months before its expiry date. Sponsors will usually receive an email from the Home Office to remind them to renew their licence, however it is best practice not to rely on this. As a sponsor, it is your duty to ensure the renewal is done before expiry, so we recommend that you set an internal reminder to apply to renew the licence prior to the expiry date. Sponsors can view their licence expiry and earliest renewal date in their sponsorship management system account under 'Licence Summary' tab.
An application to renew the sponsor licence is made through the sponsorship management system. The fee payable for the renewal application is determined by the sponsor's size, charitable status, and what immigration routes they sponsor migrants under. If you are sponsoring someone in the Worker route, such as Skilled Worker, Global Business Mobility, International Sportsperson, or Minister of Religion, you may be eligible for streamlined licence renewal consideration. This is explained in detail in the Home Office's policy guidance on licence renewal.
Depending on the route under which you sponsor migrants – for example Temporary Worker – International Agreement, or International Sportsperson – you may also be required to provide new documents when making your renewal application. We'd recommend seeing formal legal advice to confirm what specific documents may be required for your renewal application.
If your sponsor licence has been suspended as part of prior compliance action, it is very likely that you will be receive a compliance visit before being granted renewal, if this has not taken place already. If your licence has previously been made dormant, revoked or surrendered, the Home Office will reject the licence renewal application. In such a case, you would need to apply for a sponsor licence again.
If your application is rejected and the sponsor licence renewal date has passed, but you're currently employing workers in the UK, you must apply for a new licence within 20 working days. You will not be able to apply for another renewal.
If you do not wish to renew, you can use your sponsorship management system account to decline to renew. If you do not renew your sponsor licence, your licence will expire automatically on the scheduled expiry date and you will no longer be able to act as a licensed sponsor from this date.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.