News & Insights

Renewing Your Sponsor Licence

Sponsor licences normally only last four years – if you plan on continuing to sponsor migrant workers, you will need to renew your licence.

While some employers might think that they have a sponsor licence for life after a successful licence application, most sponsor licences – including those for the Skilled Worker and Global Business Mobility routes – are only valid for four years. If an employer fails to renew, the licence will expire, and all sponsored workers will lose their sponsorship and will have 60 days to leave the UK or obtain a new visa.

An application to renew the sponsor licence can be made up to 90 days before the licence expiry date. A Level 1 user on the licence will need to login to the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) and complete the online renewal application form and make payment of the renewal fee. At the time of writing, this fee ranges from £536 to £1,476, depending on the size of the organisation and the type of licence. After making payment, a copy of the submission sheet should be saved for the organisation’s records.

The Home Office will email the Authorising Officer if they require any supporting documents to process the renewal application. From the date of this email, the organisation has 5 working days to respond with the requested documentation.

It is also possible that the Home Office might want to conduct a compliance visit before approving a renewal application. This could involve checking HR and employee records to ensure that the organisation is carrying out appropriate Right to Work checks and complying with its sponsor obligations. They may even want to interview key personnel, such as the Authorising Officer, or sponsored workers.

In a surprising turn of events, the Home Office have, since the original publication of this article, announced that sponsor licences will no longer be limited to a four-year period and will last indefinitely. This new approach will apply to all sponsor licences currently set to expire after 6 April 2024. Unfortunately, sponsor licences with an expiry date before then will still need to be renewed.

If you require advice on renewing or managing your sponsor licence, we offer a comprehensive retainer service. Please get in touch at [email protected] if you would like to know more.