Applying for a sponsor licence under Tiers 2 and 5: eligibility and suitability
Applying for a sponsor licence under Tiers 2 and 5: eligibility and suitability

The following Immigration practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Applying for a sponsor licence under Tiers 2 and 5: eligibility and suitability
  • Requests for further information, pre-licence questionnaires and genuineness
  • Sponsoring organisation—eligibility criteria
  • Head office and branches
  • Suitability assessment
  • 'Hostile environment' civil penalties and convictions
  • Human resources systems
  • ‘You’ or ‘your’
  • Civil penalties, relevant offences, Annex 7 offences and other restrictions
  • Duty of honesty
  • More...

STOP PRESS: This Practice Note is being updated to reflect changes to the Immigration Rules further to Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules HC 813. For further information on these changes, see: LNB News 22/10/2020 80. See also Practice Note: The post-Brexit immigration system: what will it look like?

The eligibility criteria for obtaining a sponsor licence are not located in statute law nor in the Immigration Rules; they are mainly contained within the long and regularly changing Tiers 2 and 5 of the Points-Based System Sponsor Guidance (SG). There is also supplementary guidance contained elsewhere on the UK Visas and Immigration pages of the GOV.UK website.

Note that the guidance on the eligibility and suitability criteria contained within the main body of the SG is supplemented by Annexes 1 and 2, which respectively provide example lists of when a licence application 'will' and 'may' be refused. These example reasons for refusal are not exhaustive, but do in some cases provide further important details as to eligibility and suitability criteria which are not included in the main body of the SG.

In R (New London College Ltd) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD); R (West London Vocational Training College) v SSHD, the Supreme Court held that the Immigration Act 1971 provides a general statutory authority for the SSHD to administer

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