Obtaining A Sponsor Licence For A Start-Up Business

Obtaining A Sponsor Licence For A Start-Up Business

If you are in the infancy of your business, you may be looking at the option of hiring staff from outside of the EEA. If so, you will need to look into gaining a Sponsor Licence. A Sponsor Licence allows you to offer Certificates of Sponsorship to prospective foreign staff who will use the certificate as part of their visa application; they will require this to satisfy part of the eligibility criteria of a tier 2 general migration visa.

Can a start-up apply for a Sponsor Licence?

There is no reason whatsoever that a start-up cannot get a Sponsor Licence. At least the age of the company is not an issue, nor is the size; as long as you can satisfy the eligibility criteria, being a start-up should not be a hindrance.

What is the eligibility criteria?

According to the Home Office, you will need to satisfy the following criteria:

  • No unspent convictions for offences relating to immigration.
  • Any history of failing to carry out sponsorship duties.

This is the bare minimum of expectation from the Home Office, but they will also expect that you have effective HR systems in place to deal with the added paperwork involved in the management of sponsored workers.

What are the benefits?

If you are struggling to source technically qualified staff locally, the option of extending your search area outside of the EEA gives you a huge pool to draw from. With many jobs, the sheer technical demands mean that specialists must be sought out from all corners of the globe. Having a sponsor licence means that you can assist your potential staff in entering the country to work for your business.

Read also 'How UK employers can recruit or employ overseas workers'


The government makes it relatively straightforward for businesses to apply and places a moderate level of responsibility on them. As long as you are well set up to accommodate it from an HR perspective, many companies will benefit from being sponsor licence holders.

As long as you keep up with your duties, the sponsor licence can be a great addition to your business; giving you the flexibility of employing staff from around the World. For many companies, this flexibility is necessary and can help to drive innovation by giving them access to the most impressive candidates in their industry from around the globe. So it is down to you to decide whether it is right for your business.

How we can help

Our specialist immigration solicitors can help you in the process of applying for a sponsor licence. We can assist with any and all of your queries and can also help your prospective staff with their visa applications. We have years of experience and a wide breadth of knowledge in the space and can help you to stay compliant with the regulations.

So, if you're interested in pursuing sponsorship, or you have any other visa query then please get in touch and let us help you through the process.

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