UK visa sponsorship for employers
7. Sponsorship certificates
You need a certificate of sponsorship for each foreign worker you employ. This is an electronic record, not a physical document. Each certificate has its own number which a worker can use to apply for a visa.
Certificates must be used within 3 months from when they’re issued.
When you apply for your licence you’ll be asked to estimate how many Tier 2 and Tier 5 certificates you’ll need. These are called unrestricted certificates because there’s no limit on how many you can get.
These are for:
- Tier 2 (General) workers currently abroad who’ll be paid less than £159,600 a year and aren’t in an inward investment post
- family members (dependants) of Tier 4 migrants who are switching to a Tier 2 visa
You must apply for restricted certificates for these workers through the sponsorship management system (SMS). You’ll get access to this when you get your licence.
When you get the certificate
Applications are considered on the first working day after the 10th day of the month. This is called the ‘allocation date’. If you apply after the 5th day of the month then your application will be held until the next month’s allocation date.
Your application may also be held until the next month’s allocation date so that the details of your application can be checked.
Your restricted certificate will appear in your SMS account on the allocation date if your application has been approved. You can then assign a certificate to a worker.
You can apply again if your application isn’t approved.
A restricted certificate can be issued before the next allocation date in exceptional circumstances. This doesn’t include applications which have been delayed for reasons which you could have avoided.
Use your SMS account to make the application and then email Tier2Limits@ukba.gsi.gov.uk explaining why it’s urgent.
You need to pay for each certificate of sponsorship. Certificates are free for citizens of Croatia, Macedonia and Turkey.
|Type of certificate||Cost per certificate|
If you assign a certificate of sponsorship to a worker with a Tier 2 (General) or Tier 2 (Intra-company transfer) visa, you might also need to pay the immigration skills charge.