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 guidance 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
  • Types of entity and documents
  • Table 1—no or limited documentary requirements
  • Table 2—mandatory documents which apply for particular types of organisation
  • Table 3—mandatory documents which apply depending on the types of licence(s) being applied for
  • Table 4—optional documents
  • Head office and branches
  • Suitability assessment
  • more

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), and in 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 a sponsor licensing system, including vetting sponsors, via rules which do not require to be laid before Parliament. Only mandatory criteria which relate to a person's qualifying for entry clearance, leave to enter or leave to remain must be laid before Parliament as Immigration Rules.

The Home Office has also published