Sponsorship: guidance for employers and educators
Information for student and worker sponsors, including full policy guidance, using the sponsorship management system and how to get help.
This collection includes documents for businesses and educational institutions that sponsor foreign workers and students. It includes:
- sponsorship policy guidance
- guidance for employers who wish to apply for a sponsor licence and sponsor workers on the Worker and Temporary Work immigration routes
- guides to using the business helpdesk and educators helpdesk
- codes of practice
- user manuals for the sponsorship management system (SMS)
- technical details for bulk data transfers
- lists of licensed sponsors
From 1 January 2021 you’ll need to have a sponsor licence to hire most workers from outside the UK.
Sponsorship policy guidance
- Priority change of circumstances for sponsors
- Student sponsor guidance
- Worker and Temporary Worker priority service request form
- Workers and Temporary Workers pre-licence error correction form
- Sponsor guidance appendix A: supporting documents for sponsor applications
- Sponsor guidance appendix B: immigration offences and sponsorship
- Sponsor guidance appendix C: civil penalties and sponsorship
- Sponsor guidance appendix D: keeping records for sponsorship
Workers and Temporary Workers: guidance for sponsors
You should read all parts of the guidance to ensure you understand your duties and responsibilities as a licensed sponsor.
If you are new to sponsorship, you may find it helpful to read the relevant route-specific guidance first.
You do not need to sponsor an EEA or Swiss national, or their eligible family members, if they arrive in the UK before 11pm on 31 December 2020, provided they apply for status on the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 and that application is granted. With limited exceptions, you do not need to sponsor Irish citizens.
You can read relevant appendices:
- Appendix A: this tells you the documents you must submit to support your sponsor licence application
- Appendix B: this is a list of immigration offences we will take into account when considering your suitability to hold a sponsor licence
- Appendix D: this tells you about your record-keeping duties as a licensed sponsor
- Workers and Temporary Workers - guidance for sponsors part 1: apply for a licence
- Workers and Temporary Workers: guidance for sponsors part 2: sponsor a worker
- Workers and Temporary Workers: guidance for sponsors part 3: sponsor duties and compliance
- Workers and Temporary Workers: sponsor a Skilled Worker
- Sponsor a Global Business Mobility worker
- Workers and Temporary Workers: guidance for sponsors: sponsor a Minister of Religion or religious worker
- Workers and Temporary Workers: guidance for sponsors: sponsor an International Sportsperson
- Worker and Temporary Workers: guidance for sponsors: sponsor a Creative Worker
- Workers and Temporary Workers: guidance for sponsors: sponsor a Charity Worker
- Workers and Temporary Workers: guidance for sponsors: sponsor a Government Authorised Exchange Worker
- Sponsor an International Agreement worker
- Sponsor a Scale-up Worker
- Sponsor a seasonal worker
Pre-licence priority service
How to get help
Codes of practice
All the creative codes of practice are contained in the Immigration Rules, Appendix Creative Worker Codes of Practice.
User manuals: sponsorship management system (SMS)
- Introduction to the sponsorship management system: SMS guide 1
- Manage your sponsorship licence: SMS guide 2
- Applications, renewals and services: SMS guide 3
- Creating and assigning CAS: SMS guide 4
- Creating a CAS: guide for education sponsors, SMS guide 4a
- Reporting student activity: SMS guide 5
- Miscellaneous CAS functions: SMS guide 6
- Bulk data transfer of CAS: SMS guide 7
- Creating and assigning a CoS: SMS guide 8
- Reporting worker activity: SMS guide 9
- Miscellaneous certificate of sponsorship functions: SMS guide 10
- Temporary Work - Creative Worker certificate of sponsorship: SMS guide 11
- Defined certificate of sponsorship: SMS guide 12
Bulk data transfer: technical details
- Bulk data transfer for sponsors: XML schema
- Bulk data transfer for sponsors: country codes
- Bulk data transfer for sponsors: example files
- Bulk data transfer for sponsors: data values for CAS fields
- Bulk data transfer for sponsors: validation rules for CAS upload
- Bulk data transfer for sponsors: frequently asked questions
Lists of licensed sponsors
Last updated 22 August 2022 + show all updates
Link to guidance on Sponsor a Scale-up Worker route added to 'Workers and Temporary Workers: guidance for sponsors' area of collection page.
Added link to 'Sponsor a Global Business Mobility worker' guidance.
Updated link to the Immigration Rules 'Appendix Creative Worker Codes of Practice'.
New section on the pre-licence priority service.
Guidance and links need to be updated to reflect changes to the Immigration Rules which came into effect on 1 Dec 2020.
Added guidance on priority change of circumstances for sponsors and Tier 2 and 5 priority service request form.
Link to updated shortage occupation list added under codes of practice.
Tier 2 shortage occupation list from 6 April 2015 addition to the codes of practice section.
Updated SMS documents.