The Register of Licensed Sponsors, previously known as the Tier 2 sponsor list, is a public list of all UK organisations which hold a valid sponsorship licence.
The Home Office maintains the sponsorship list to identify all employers that have the required permission to employ sponsored workers under routes such as the Skilled Worker visa and other temporary work visas.
Using the sponsor licence list to find a sponsor
The Register of Licenced Sponsors is an extremely helpful tool for workers looking to find visa sponsorship in the UK.
Before you can apply for a sponsorship visa for the UK, you first have to be sponsored by a qualifying UK employer. The sponsor licence allows the organisation to issue you a Certificate of Sponsorship which you will need to apply to the Home Office for your visa.
The Home Office sponsor list identifies each organisation’s full name and address, which you can use to search by region.
As well as company details and address, the sponsor list also includes the type of licence the organisation has – Worker and/or Temporary Worker licence – as well as the visa routes it is permitted to sponsor under, such as:
- Skilled Worker
- Global Business Mobility: Senior or Specialist Worker
- Global Business Mobility: UK Expansion Worker
- Global Business Mobility: Secondment Worker
- Scale Up
- Creative Worker
- Religious Worker
- Government Authorised Exchange
- Minister of Religion
- Global Business Mobility: Graduate Trainee
- International Sportsperson
- Charity Worker
View the Home Office register of licensed sponsors here >
What does the sponsorship rating mean?
When a company’s sponsorship licence is approved, they are issued an A-rated sponsor licence. They are then permitted to issue Certificates of Sponsorship and hire eligible migrant workers.
The sponsorship rating can, however, be downgraded to a B-rating as a penalty if the Home Office finds the company has breached its sponsor licence compliance duties.
B-rated companies are not permitted to issue new Certificates of Sponsorship until they are upgraded back to an A-rating by the Home Office. Upgrades are only given where the company can show they have corrected and improved the issues which resulted in the downgrade.
As such, you will not be able to take up new employment and sponsorship by a company with a B-rated licence – unless and until they can achieve an upgrade back to the A-rating.
Companies not on the sponsor list
A company may start the recruitment process for a role without being on the sponsor list, but they will need to apply for a sponsor licence and be listed on the Register of Sponsors before they can issue the Certificate of Sponsorship to a migrant worker.
Finding a sponsor is only part of the process. The job on offer must also meet the requirements of the visa route you are applying under.
For example, if you are applying as a Skilled Worker, the role must require a skill level of RQ3 or above, pay at least the minimum salary and be listed on the eligible occupations list.
Applying for a sponsorship visa
To apply for a UK sponsorship visa, you will need to meet the visa criteria and follow the correct application steps.
The Skilled Worker visa is the most common UK work visa.
You will need to attain a total of 70 points to be eligible for the Skilled Worker visa:
|Skilled worker requirement||Points||Mandatory or tradeable?|
|A genuine job offer from a licensed sponsor||20 points||Mandatory|
|Speak English to the required standard||10 points||Mandatory|
|Job offer is at a skill level of RQF3 or above||20 points||Mandatory|
|Salary of £20,480 to £23,039 or at least 80% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)||0 points||Tradeable|
|Salary of £23,040 to £25,599 or at least 90% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)||10 points||Tradeable|
|Salary of £26,200 or above or at least the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)||20 points||Tradeable|
|Job in a shortage occupation as designated by the Migration Advisory Committee||20 points||Tradeable|
|Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the job||10 points||Tradeable|
|Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job||20 points||Tradeable|
The UK Shortage Occupation List is a register of jobs for which there is a high demand among employers but a shortage of labour in the UK market. Applications for shortage occupation roles carry a tradeable 20 points for skilled workers and also have a lower visa application cost.
The list is reviewed by the Migration Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations to the Government to add or remove jobs in line with changes in the UK labour market.
The English language requirement is met if you:
- Are a citizen of a majority English speaking country
- Hold a degree which is equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s degree or higher, which was taught or researched in English
- Have passed a recognised English language test with at least a B1 score Council of Europe’s common European framework for language and learning.
- Have previously met the English Language requirement during a grant of leave in the UK
For the maintenance funds, most sponsors will guarantee their prospective employees’ maintenance for the first month of employment in the UK on the Certificate of Sponsorship. Only A-rated companies on the sponsor list are permitted to do this.
Without sponsor guarantee, the applicant must evidence access to their own funds.
If you have attained enough points, your sponsor can assign you a Certificate of Sponsorship. You use the unique reference number to make your visa application. Note that CoS are non-transferrable – either between candidates or employers.
The most effective way to secure a Skilled Worker visa is to work closely with your prospective employer, particularly if they already hire sponsored workers and have processes in place to support you through the Home Office visa application.
Points-based visas such as the Skilled Worker visa also make provision for spouses, partners and any dependent children to come to the UK at the same time as you, which you should discuss at the outset with your sponsor.
DavidsonMorris are UK immigration specialists. We work with UK employers to support their talent mobility needs, including hiring workers from overseas under all UK immigration routes.
Sponsor list FAQs
What is a Tier 2 sponsor?
The Tier 2 route is now closed and has been replaced by the Skilled Worker visa. Non-UK workers coming to the UK for skilled work must be sponsored by an employer with a sponsorship licence before they can apply for a work visa.
How do you get a sponsorship visa in the UK?
When searching for job, you should check the name of the organisation against the Register of Licensed Sponsors which lists all UK organisations that have a licence to sponsor migrant workers.
How much does it cost to sponsor a Skilled Worker visa?
Issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship to a skilled worker costs £199. This is in addition to the visa application fee and the sponsor licence costs.
Is it hard to get a UK sponsorship visa?
How difficult it is to get a sponsorship visa will depend on your skillset, qualifications and industry. Some occupations are in short supply in the UK, with many vacancies at any one time for suitable candidates.
Last updated: 10 March 2023