You might need a sponsor licence to employ someone from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland to work for you in the UK.

This includes unpaid work, like running a charity.

You’ll also need a sponsor licence to employ EEA and Swiss citizens coming to the UK to work from 1 January 2021.

Sponsoring someone does not guarantee that they’ll be allowed to come to or stay in the UK.

How to get a sponsor licence

  1. Check your business is eligible.

  2. Choose the type of licence you want to apply for - this will depend on what type of worker you want to sponsor.

  3. Decide who will manage sponsorship within your business.

  4. Apply online and pay the fee.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) may visit your business to check it’s suitable.

After you apply

You’ll be given a licence rating if your application is successful.

You’ll be able to issue certificates of sponsorship if you have jobs that are suitable for sponsorship.

Your licence will be valid for 4 years. You may lose your licence if you do not meet your responsibilities as a sponsor.

Sponsoring workers from outside the UK from 1 January 2021

From 1 January 2021, a new ‘points-based’ immigration system will replace the current rules for workers from outside the UK.

Employers will need to have a sponsor licence to recruit any worker from outside the UK, including EU, EEA and Swiss citizens. The fees, salary thresholds and skills requirements are also changing.

Find out more in the recruiting people from outside the UK from 1 January 2021 guidance.