Sponsoring migrant workers under the points-based system

Sponsoring migrant workers under the points-based system

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This section explains the role of employers within the points-based system.

The concept of sponsorship is at the heart of the points-based system. If you want to employ a migrant worker, you must be their sponsor during their stay in theUK (unless they are coming here for 6 months or less in certain circumstances). And before you can sponsor a migrant, you must obtain a sponsor licence.

Here you can find out whether you can be a sponsor, how to apply for a sponsor licence, how you can sponsor migrants when you have a licence, and what your duties are as a sponsor.




This section tells you how to apply for a licence to sponsor migrant workers under the points-based system, and describes your duties as a sponsor.

Before you apply for a licence, you should check whether you are eligible to be a sponsor, and ensure that you have the right human resource (HR) systems in place to comply with your sponsorship duties.

Our service standards set out how quickly we aim to decide sponsor licence applications. The standard is that we will decide 65 per cent of applications within 4 weeks.

Quick guide to the points-based system

Sponsoring migrant workers

This section contains summaries of key tasks for employers under our points-based system for immigration. It explains how the system works and what it means for sponsors.

Who does the system apply to?

The points-based system only covers migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. If you want to employ an EEA or Swiss national, you should be able to do this without needing our permission – but there are some restrictions on nationals of countries that have recently joined the EEA. The section for European citizens provides more information on the rights of all EEA and Swiss nationals.

How the system works

Under the points-based system, migrants must pass a points assessment before they can get permission to enter or remain in theUK.

Each of the system’s five tiers has different points requirements – the number of points the migrant needs and the way the points are awarded will depend on the tier. Points are awarded to reflect the migrant’s ability, experience and age – and, when appropriate, the level of need in the migrant’s chosen industry.

The role of the sponsor

Migrants in any tier except Tier 1 must be sponsored before they can apply to us. If aUK organisation wants to sponsor a migrant under Tier 2, Tier 4 or Tier 5 (Temporary workers), they must apply to us for a sponsor licence.

Under Tier 2 and Tier 5 (Temporary workers), the sponsor must be an employer based in theUK. Under Tier 4, the sponsor must be an education provider.

Migrants who want to come to theUKunder Tier 5 (Youth mobility scheme) do not need to be sponsored by aUKemployer.

You can find out more about sponsorship duties and how to become a licensed sponsor on thesponsoring workers pages.

What are the tiers?

The points-based system consists of five tiers. These are:

  • Tier 1 – for highly skilled workers, such as scientists and entrepreneurs
  • Tier 2 – for skilled workers with a job offer, such as teachers and nurses
  • Tier 3 – for low-skilled workers filling specific temporary labour shortages, such as construction workers for a particular project
  • Tier 4 – for students
  • Tier 5 – for temporary workers, such as musicians coming to play in a concert, and participants in the youth mobility scheme.

Tiers 1, 2, 4 and 5 are now open.

Tier 3 is currently suspended.

Getting started

Sponsoring migrant workers

This section aims to help employers through the process of applying for a sponsor licence.

First, you should read our checklist to make sure that you meet all the requirements to be a sponsor. If you meet the requirements, you will then need to think about the type of licence you want and the way that you will operate as a sponsor – our ten-step guide will help you.

Finally, our Becoming a Licensed Sponsor flowchart (PDF 196K opens in a new window) shows the stages involved in making your application.

These tools are only designed to assist you with your application. Before you apply, you must read the information in the How do I sponsor a migrant? section and the full sponsor guidance document, which you can download from the right side of this page.

You can also find the answers to some frequently asked questions below.

Eligibility checklist

Find out whether you are ready to apply for a sponsor licence.

Ten steps to sponsorship

A simple guide to the key actions when you apply for a licence.


Frequently Asked Questions

Source : www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk

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