UK Work Sponsor Licenses No Longer Need to Be Renewed Every 4 Years

| May 7, 2024
UK Work Sponsor Licenses No Longer Need to Be Renewed Every 4 Years

The United Kingdom (UK) Home Office has simplified the work sponsorship process by removing the requirement to renew their licenses.

Starting on 6 April, those with work sponsorship licenses that expire on or after the date no longer need to renew their license or pay a renewal fee.

To enable a smooth transition to policy change, the Home Office has extended all work sponsor licenses due to expire on or after 6 April for ten years.

Those who have already applied for a renewal of their work visa sponsor license will be contacted for reimbursement.

Work sponsors who have received a notification to renew their license can ignore it.

This welcome change for work sponsors will make it easier for businesses to retain international workers. 

What is a work sponsor license?

UK businesses need a work sponsor license to employ non-British workers.

Post-Brexit in 2020, non-British workers included individuals from the European Union (EU), Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland citizens.

Previously, sponsors had to apply for a renewal 90 days before their license expires.

They also had to pay a renewal fee of £1,476 for medium and large sponsors and £536 for small and charitable sponsors.

This fee is the same amount they had to pay when applying for a work sponsor license the first time.

Work sponsors typically wait eight weeks after submitting a renewal application to receive a decision from the Home Office.

Immigration service Smith Stone Walters said it is likely that the Home Office discontinued work sponsor renewals due to increasing costs and time to process renewal applications.

This is because the number of licensed sponsors in the UK grows yearly.

Removing work sponsor license renewals will free up more of the Home Office’s resources and focus on other priorities.

“Despite the renewal requirement being removed, sponsor compliance remains high on the Home Office’s list of priorities,” said the firm.

Work sponsor applications for Defined Certificates of Sponsorships

Skilled workers must have a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to apply for a skilled worker visa and work in the UK.

A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) contains the details of a job or role in the UK offered to a skilled worker from outside the UK. There are two types of CoS: “Defined” and “Undefined.”

Skilled workers cannot apply for a Defined Certificate of Sponsorships (DCoS). Instead, the company or business that offered them a job in the UK should apply for one.

To apply for a DCoS, work sponsors must submit typical CoS details, such as start date, occupation code, job description, and salary.

They must submit the applications using the online Sponsorship Management System (SMS) and pay a standard fee of £239 for the Skilled Worker route.

The Home Office can issue a decision within one working day for straightforward applications.

Once the Home Office approves a DCoS, the work sponsor must assign it to a worker within three months. Otherwise, it will be removed from the work visa sponsor’s account.

Updated Home Office guidance on DCoS applications

One change for work sponsor license holders is applying for a DCoS.

The Home Office guidance now requires the number of weekly working hours for skilled workers to be included in DCoS applications.

This requirement on DCoS applications came into force starting on 11 March.

Previously, work visa sponsors were required to provide this information in the ‘Summary of job description’ field.

After the change, the DCoS will have a dedicated field for work sponsors to enter this data.

If the number of weekly hours is still under negotiation, the work sponsor should provide the number of hours usually expected of workers in a similar role.

Then, they should provide an explanation of this estimate in the ‘Summary of job description’ field.

Work sponsors must confirm the correct number of weekly hours by adding a sponsor note when the DCoS is assigned to a worker.

Sponsors must also now provide more information when applying for a DCoS to sponsor care workers, home carers, or senior care workers.

Increased general salary threshold for skilled workers

The Home Office has implemented policy changes to lower the UK’s increasing and unsustainable net migration number.

One of these policy changes is increasing the general salary threshold for skilled workers from £26,200 to £38,700, effective 4 April.

The government also replaced the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) with the new Immigration Salary List (ISL).

The ISL still offers a 20 percent discount on the salary threshold of only eight percent of jobs available in the skilled worker route.

Home and care workers are also no longer allowed to bring dependants or family to the UK.

More changes to Student visas and Family visas are already in effect, as is a review of the Graduate visa.