Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship Guide for Employers

Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship Guide for Employers

Thursday 23rd August 2018

The Tier 2 (General) Visa provides UK companies with the opportunity to hire skilled workers from around the world, allowing them to improve the quality of their workforces and promote business growth. If you are an employer who intends to employ personnel from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), a vital part of the Tier 2 application process is the Certificate of Sponsorship. Here we provide useful information on these Certificates and how to apply for them.

It is important that you are fully informed about the Tier 2 Visa route before you begin the process of becoming a sponsor as penalties can be imposed on businesses that do not comply with their sponsorship responsibilities. For Tier 2 Visa guidance specific to your business requirements, contact our expert immigration solicitors today.

What is the Certificate of Sponsorship?

It is an electronic record, not a physical document, that employers must apply for when they intend to hire a skilled worker via the Tier 2 (General) Visa immigration route. You must have a Sponsor Licence before you can apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship (see below for more details).

Once granted, the Certificate must be assigned to the worker, who must quote the number in their Tier 2 Visa application.

How do you apply for a Sponsor Licence?
In most cases, you will need a Sponsor Licence before you can apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship. You can apply to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) for this Licence if:

  • you have no unspent criminal convictions for immigration offences or other specific crimes, including fraud; and
  • you have not previously failed to carry out any sponsorship duties.

As part of your application, you will need to include supporting documentation to show UKVI your business is genuine. The appropriate documents that you should supply depend on the type of business you operate. You must also provide evidence that you have a legitimate need for hiring skilled workers from abroad. It is important to note that UKVI may visit your business premises to help with its decision whether to issue you with a Licence.

If you are granted a Licence, you can start assigning Certificates of Sponsorship. The Licence will last for four years but you can lose it if you are found to have failed to meet your obligations as a sponsor.

How do I get a Certificate of Sponsorship?
There are two types of the Certificate of Sponsorship issued by UKVI:

  • Unrestricted Certificates - you can apply for as many of these as your business needs
  • Restricted Certificates - you should apply for this type of Certificate if you plan to hire a worker who will be paid less than £159,600 a year and will not be in an inward investment post

Unrestricted Certificates are applied for as part of your Licence application. You will be asked to estimate how many your business is likely to need and provide evidence to support this.

Restricted Certificates must be applied for through the Government's sponsorship management system, which you will be able to access once your Licence has been granted. These types of Certificate are subject to an annual cap of 20,700 and a points-based system.

Contact our Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence Solicitors London, UK

If you are considering hiring from overseas, it is important that you get expert immigration law advice. Our immigration lawyers will consider your requirements carefully and advise on the best course of action to achieve your business objectives. We will clearly explain what is involved in the application process and what your obligations are as a sponsor. Our Tier 2 Visa solicitors will ensure your licence application is completed correctly and that it is supported by the correct documentation and convincing evidence of your genuine need to hire - giving you the best chance of being successful first time around. For immediate, specialist support call +44 (0)20 7448 3034, email or use our online contact form.