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  Sponsorship Licensing under the Points Based System (PBS)  

  • Introduction
  • Criteria for Obtaining a Licence
  • Suitability Criteria
  • Duties of a Sponsor
  • Rating
  • Key Personnel
  • Payment of Fees

    UK based employers as Sponsors wanting to apply for a licence to employ migrant workers under the points-based system should agree to meet a number of sponsorship duties.
    You must apply to join the register of sponsors. If you are given a licence, you are then added to the register of sponsors, and able to issue Certificates of Sponsorship. A licence is valid for four years. At the end of the four-year period, the sponsor must renew the licence. Sponsor's Licence can be suspended or withdrawn if there is a serious breach of its duties that poses a threat to immigration control.

    Sponsorship in the PBS is based on two fundamental principles:

  • Those who benefit most directly from migration (that is, the employers, educational institutions or other bodies who are bringing in migrants) should play their part in ensuring that the system is not abused
  • UK Border Agency (the Agency) needs to be sure that those applying to come to the UK to do a job, or to study, are eligible to do so and that a reputable employer or college genuinely wishes to take them on.

    In order to obtain a licence, a prospective sponsor must apply to the UK Border Agency, supplying specified documents to show that it is eligible. Sponsors should have robust HR Policies and Procedures and demonstrate that they are keeping proper records of migrants and monitoring compliance with Immigration Rules.

    Criteria for Obtaining a Licence
  • The applicant must be a bona fide organisation operating lawfully in the UK
  • Applicant is trustworthy
  • Applicant should be capable of carrying out duties as a Sponsor
  • Sponsor must nominate an Authorising Officer and a Key Contact
  • Application must not fall for refusal

    Suitability Criteria


    To meet the suitability criteria each organisation will need to demonstrate that:

  • They have effective HR Systems in place
  • They have not been issued with a Civil Penalty for Immigration Offences
  • The AO, Level 1 User or Key Contact, who have access to the Sponsor Management System, must not have any criminal convictions in their name
  • The Agency does not have any evidence of previous non-compliance

    Duties of a Sponsor



  • Prevent abuse of the assessment procedures
  • Capture early pattern of migrant's behaviour (causes for concern)
  • Address possible weakness in the process which can cause those patterns for concern
  • Monitor compliance with Immigration Rules
  • Adhere to Record Keeping and Reporting Duties



    All sponsors will be rated A or B. Sponsor's rating will appear on the public version of the register of licensed sponsors. The Agency will rank HR systems - "A" rating for meeting all the criteria. "B" Rating which is transitional rating if you are only meeting some of the criteria. B-rated sponsors are likely to be subject to more frequent and exacting inspections by the Agency. UK Border Agency will draw up an Action Plan for B-rated sponsors to gain or regain an A-rating. If you do not comply with the Action Plan, it is likely that you will lose your licence altogether and be unable to bring migrants (non-EEA or non-Swiss nationals) into the United Kingdom.

    Key Personnel


    Sponsor should appoint an Authorising Officer, a Key Contact and Level 1 User. The sponsor will be held fully responsible for the actions of its AO. The AO, Key Contact or Level 1 User must not have any criminal convictions.

    The Authorising Officer:

  • The Authorising Officer must be based in the UK and must be a permanent member of the sponsor's staff. This role needs to be fulfilled by a responsible, honest and competent member of staff
  • A sponsor's representative cannot act as its AO
  • An undischarged bankrupt cannot act as the AO
  • The AO will be responsible for the activities of anyone acting on the sponsor's behalf to issue CoS. This includes both employees of the organisation and external representatives
  • The AO is responsible for the sponsor licensing application, and for ensuring that the sponsor meets all its duties under the PBS

    The Key Contact:

    The key contact is the person who will act as the main point of contact between the UK Border Agency and the Sponsoring organisation. The key contact will be the person who will be called upon if there are any queries with the application form, the documents submitted or the payment which accompanies the application form.

    Level 1 User

    An external representative may act as a Level 1 User.

    The Level 1 User can:

  • Add or Remove other users from the "Sponsor Management System"
  • Assign CoS to Migrants (also Level 2 User)
  • Request an increase in the Sponsor's limit (No. of CoS)
  • Notify UK Border Agency minor changes
  • Complete sponsor change of circumstances

  • Report Migrant activity to the Agency like not turning up to work (also Level 2 User)

    Payment of Fees


    Licence fee:

    Small Sponsor Fee of GBP 300 is applicable for Companies with:

  • Turn Over < 5.6 Mln
  • Balance Sheet < 2.8 Mln
  • No. of Employees < 50

    Large Sponsor Fee: GBP 1000

    Payment of Fee: By card or by cheque payable to 'The Home Office PBS Sponsorship'

    Payment must accompany the supporting documents and should be sent to the UK Border Agency within 10 working days of submitting the online application.

    Please contact us for more details and an assessment.