Hiring Foreign Migrants: Sponsorship Licence Guidelines

Hiring a foreign migrant in the UK could be challenging for UK employers. Tier 2 of the points-based system is the main route designed for non-EEA nationals looking to being sponsored by a UK-based employer.

The Sponsor is normally a company or organisation genuinely operating in the UK, holding a licence and including a proper HR department.

In order to obtain a licence, the sponsor must submit the appropriate form and provide the Home Office with comprehensive documentation showing the business is a genuine UK-based company. The licence will have a validity of 4 years during which the company may decide to hire migrants from overseas or extend the contract for foreign migrants currently employed in the UK.

Upon a successful outcome of the sponsorship licence application, the company will be allowed to assign as many certificates of sponsorship (CoS) as the Home Office will grant. This type of certificate of sponsorship is called “restricted” due to the maximum amount of allocations established by the Home Office on a monthly basis and must be requested before the 5th of every month.

Unless an exemption applies, the Sponsor will be required to conduct the Resident Labour Market Test which is a process designed to protect the settled workforce and prioritise the appointment of “British citizens or settled migrants”. This mechanism implies the following steps:

  • Advertising the job for a continuous minimum period of 28 calendar days
  • Completing two different advertisement stages, each of which should last at least 7 calendar days and amount together to 28 calendar days in total (e.g. the job could be potentially advertised for an initial period of 14 calendar days. If after 14 calendar days, no suitable settled worker has been found, the vacancy will have to be advertised for at least 14 calendar days more, amounting therefore to 28 calendar days in total. Upon completion of 28 calendar days of advertisement without finding a suitable settled candidate, the resident labour market test will be considered successfully passed and the company will be allowed to hire the foreign worker)

Generally, all jobs must be advertised online through the relevant online government job-search service and another job platform. 

In order to appoint a foreign migrant instead of a settled worker, the sponsor will have to provide records of the interview and evidence the reasons as to why no settled worker could have covered the position adequately.

The decision to exclude settled workforce cannot be based on lack of qualifications, experience or skills, including language skills unless specifically mentioned in the job advertisement from the initial posting date. For any queries about your sponsorship licence, do not hesitate to contact our immigration lawyers by filling out the enquiry form or call our direct number.