How can we help?


Received a sponsor licence decision – these are the next steps you should take’

The long wait is over, and you now have a sponsor licence decision. If everything was done correctly, you should either have a grant, which means you are now licenced to sponsor migrant workers, or your application has been refused. In this blog, we look at how to deal with these decisions.

Processing times

A sponsor licence decision can normally take up to 8 weeks. In practice, for straightforward applications, it can take as little as 3 weeks, but if the Home Office intends on making a pre-decision compliance visit, it can take longer than 8 weeks.

Decision – Granted

If you have been granted a sponsor licence, your legal representative (if you have one), can normally advise you of the decision (to grant) by checking the Tier 2 register of sponsors (surprisingly this is updated before the actual decision is received in most cases).

This is usually followed by an email from the Home Office providing you with your Level 1 user password. Strangely enough, this email also does not mention that you have been granted a sponsor licence, but as a level 1 account is only opened for licenced sponsors, you can infer that you are now a registered sponsor.  However, you should still wait for your official letter confirming the approval of your licence. The decision letter will contain your Level 1 username, which you will need to access the Sponsor Management System along with the password you received earlier.

As a licenced sponsor, you should receive a Sponsor Licence number and access to the Sponsor Management System. You can use the latter to maintain your licence (we cover this in a later blog).

Decision – Refused

Unfortunately, a significant number of sponsor licence applications are still being refused by the Home Office. However, this is usually because of a lack of preparation, which can lead to insufficient information being provided.

If you have been refused, you should contact your legal representative urgently. If you do not have a legal representative, you should seek independent legal advice.

You cannot appeal a sponsor licence decision, but you may be able to seek a review if you think the decision was incorrectly refused because of:

  • A Home Office caseworker error
  • You sent supporting evidence to the Home Office, but this was mistakenly not considered by them

If the Home Office accepts that the decision was indeed made in error, you will be invited to re-apply with a further fee. The further fee will be refunded, once your new application is received by the Home Office.

If the Home Office refuses your application (and review, if applicable), you cannot reapply for a further 6-month period. This is known as a ‘Cooling-Off’ period. In some cases, this period may be longer, if the reason for refusal includes a previous revocation, or n immigration offence.

In any event, if you reapply (after the Cooling-Off period), you should appropriately address previous reasons for refusal.

A sponsor licence decision can normally take up to 8 weeks.

If you think the decision to refuse your application was incorrect, you may be able to challenge this decision by way of Judicial Review.  Judicial Review is not covered in this blog, but we encourage you to seek legal assistance if you consider this to be appropriate for your case.

About this article

This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

About this article

Read, listen and watch our latest insights

  • 19 July 2024
  • Immigration

UK Immigration Rules for Business Visitors: Flexibility and Controversies

The UK’s immigration rules have changed significantly in the past five years and have introduced greater flexibility for non-EEA nationals who wish to visit the UK as business visitors.

  • 17 July 2024
  • Commercial Real Estate

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act 2024: what does it mean for my leasehold property? 

The leasehold system in the UK has been subject to some unfavourable press for some time now.

  • 15 July 2024
  • Privacy and Data Protection

The duty to protect third parties: is your DSAR response compliant?

Responding to a data subject access request (DSAR) may feel like a daunting process. It requires a solid understanding of the data subject’s rights, and of the meaning of personal data.

  • 10 July 2024
  • Employment

Redundancy : Back to Basics FAQs

Redundancy can be a scary and overwhelming time both for employees being made redundant, and for those that have to make the decision. It is important for both parties to know their rights and obligations in this time.

  • 09 July 2024
  • Litigation and dispute resolution

Buyer Beware: Practical Guidance for Breach of Warranty in an SPA

Are you buying a business? Whether you are buying shares in a company or purchasing its assets… the general Latin common law principle “caveat emptor” applies.

  • 08 July 2024
  • Corporate and M&A

Navigating corporate transparency: ECCTA reforms series

This is the second article in a series exploring the changes brought by the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (ECCTA).