Simpler UK sponsor licence roadmap to attract Global Talent

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Sanwar Ali Comment:

It is difficult to know what to believe when it comes to Government announcements on UK visa policy.  Apparently, the intention is to make it easier for employers to obtain a sponsor licence. It seems that actually with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions it has become more difficult to obtain a sponsor licence (technically not actually a visa application!) instead of easier.  Presumably, with the easing of restrictions there are more staff available at the Home Office to review sponsor licence applications, and then ask difficult questions to sponsor licence applicants. 

Much of the time the Home Office is asking employers to show that a position has been advertised even if this should not be required.  This is not mentioned when you apply for a sponsor licence.  Delays in sponsor licence applications also appear to have become worse with more applications taking about two months to process.

Dealing with enquiries from the Home Office relating to sponsor licence applications may take longer to deal with than the original sponsor licence application.  You need to look through a number of difficult to understand Home Office guides, probably need to have an understanding of employment law and respond within seven days.  If you do not provide a detailed response in time then it is almost certainly the case that the sponsor licence application will be refused.

Find out How to apply for a Sponsor Licence, or alternatively get in touch with us or Sanwar Ali at sends e-mail).


The UK points-based immigration system was launched last year and made significant changes in the way in which migrants could come to the UK to work, study, or visit. The free movement of EU citizens ended after 2020. The Government claims that there will be further reforms that will allow businesses to access qualified people from overseas more quickly and easily.

The Government says that reforms proposed in the Sponsorship Roadmap will continue to reduce the cumbersome administrative processes that organisations sponsoring employees must go through in order to do their job.


Improvements to the Sponsor Licence System

Improving the points-based system is claimed to be a priority for the UK's Home Office. The government intends to make it easier for people to obtain a sponsor licence. It is claimed that the process of hiring a foreign worker has already been shortened by up to 8 weeks as a result of:

  • The elimination of the Resident Labour Market Test and so reducing the time between identifying the need for migrant workers and getting them visas by 4 weeks;

  • Suspending the cap on skilled workers and so reducing processing times by up to 4 weeks for those it affects; 

  • Making the sponsor licence application fully paperless, and re-designing the sponsor guidance to make the system simpler and more streamlined.


Technological Simplification

It is claimed by the Government that the visa sponsor system will be improved further by a variety of technical and system enhancements, including:

  • Quicker global talent recruitment by reducing processing times for UK companies and educational institutions.

  • To make it as easy as possible for sponsors to utilise the system by using information that the government already possesses on them

  • Sponsors will be able to more easily understand the status of their sponsorship licence and the steps they need to take by creating an online dashboard for them.


Pre-licence priority service guidance for faster service

Sponsors can apply to come under the quota for the sponsor licence pre-licensing priority service via email.   You will know if you can come under the quota within 24 hours, enabling sponsors in most cases to obtain a sponsor licence within ten working days.  The problem is that there only ten applications a day permitted under this service, which means that most employers cannot benefit from this.  It has been suggested that it is best to apply from about 9am Monday to Friday to try and make sure that you are first in the queue for the service.

To apply under this service: 

  • You must have completed the UK Visas and Immigration online sponsor application registration' form and applied for a sponsor licence. 

  • After registering, you will be able to access the UKVI's 'Sponsor Application log in' page. 

  • You must next complete the online application form and provide the required papers to demonstrate your eligibility and suitability. 

  • You must submit the completed application and documentation. to the pre-licence priority service.

Full guidance on how to apply for a sponsor licence can be found within the Workers and Temporary Workers Guidance for Sponsors.

Unfortunately, Sponsor licence applications can take a long time, with companies facing huge difficulties while they wait for a licence. The UKVI's slow processing of the licence application accounts for a large portion of the processing time. This process can take up to 2 months and may include a UKVI visit to your business.  The ten day priority service quota means that most employers are unable to benefit from this service. can help with a Sponsor Licence

If you need help with employing Skilled Workers and help to apply for a Sponsor Licence, including complying with your Sponsor Licence obligations, can help.

For more information and advice on Sponsor licences, please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at sends e-mail).