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

Sponsorship policy guidance

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:

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)

Bulk data transfer: technical details

Lists of licensed sponsors

Updates to this page

Published 22 January 2014
Last updated 22 August 2022 + show all updates
  1. Link to guidance on Sponsor a Scale-up Worker route added to 'Workers and Temporary Workers: guidance for sponsors' area of collection page.

  2. Added link to 'Sponsor a Global Business Mobility worker' guidance.

  3. Updated link to the Immigration Rules 'Appendix Creative Worker Codes of Practice'.

  4. New section on the pre-licence priority service.

  5. Guidance and links need to be updated to reflect changes to the Immigration Rules which came into effect on 1 Dec 2020.

  6. Added guidance on priority change of circumstances for sponsors and Tier 2 and 5 priority service request form.

  7. Link to updated shortage occupation list added under codes of practice.

  8. Updated information.

  9. Tier 2 shortage occupation list from 6 April 2015 addition to the codes of practice section.

  10. Updated SMS documents.

  11. First published.