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Sponsor Licence Renewal (A Guide For Irish Employers In UK)

Note that as of 6 April 2024, businesses no longer have to renew their sponsor licences in order to maintain their validity. See below for more information, or reach out to one of our advisers for immediate help and support with your situation.

As an Irish employer, you are required to renew your sponsor licence to recruit new workers and maintain the already employed ones. The Home Office is always on the lookout to know if your organisation qualifies for the sponsor licence renewal.

Talk with one of our immigration lawyers at IAS to assist you in your sponsor licence renewal, and give you the best tips to qualify. Call us today on +353 061 518 025 or message us online.

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    Sponsor Licence Renewal

    The UK government announced that as of 6 April 2024, businesses will no longer be required to update their sponsor licences in order to keep them valid.

    Instead, sponsor licences will simply be set to last to last indefinitely, as long as businesses continue to meet compliance and regulatory standards. 

    Businesses whose licences had an expiry date on or after 6 April 2024 will not need to take any action. Furthermore, businesses who had already applied to extend their licence will be eligible to receive a refund from the Home Office.

    However, businesses whose licences expire before 6 April 2024 will need to apply to extend them and pay the renewal fee one last time. 

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      When Should Businesses Renew Their Sponsor Licence

      Irish businesses or organisations who have a UK sponsor licence usually get notifications from the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) prior to reminding businesses of the need to renew their licence before its expiration date.

      The first notification typically comes in 120 days before the licence expires.

      The second notification comes at 30 calendar-day intervals, to the last month and the final one comes 2 weeks before the sponsor licence expiry date.

      Nonetheless, as a sponsoring organisation, you are still in charge of ensuring your licence renewal application is submitted on time. The UKVI advises that it’s ideal to submit your application for licence renewals, at least 3 months before your current licence expires.

      You can use the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) of your organisation to find out the earliest date on which you can submit your renewal application. If your sponsor licence is not revoked or surrendered, it will be valid for 4 years.

      But usually, you can request to have your licence renewed a short time before it expires. Should your application for renewal be approved, your sponsor licence will be renewed for an additional 4 years. You can check the date of your licence’s expiration and the earliest possible renewal by going to your SMS account’s “Licence summary” screen.

      As a sponsor, you can easily apply for a renewal of your licence about 3 months before it expires. You are not required to have been granted the licence renewal by the expiration date of your current licence. Instead, what is required of you is to have made your submission on the SMS for the Home Office to process your application.

      How To Renew a Sponsor Licence


      As an Irish employer, you are required to apply for the renewal of your sponsor licence via your sponsor management system account and also pay the corresponding fee online. Your Authorised Level 1 User can submit an online application to renew your licence through your company’s SMS account and pay the required fees after completing a declaration.

      You must show that your company still complies with all applicable regulations for the route in question as well as its sponsorship duties to apply for your sponsor licence renewal.

      However, the Level 1 User will typically only need to choose the right cost, sign a declaration attesting to the accuracy of the information they have provided, and then make the necessary payment when submitting the initial renewal request.

      Upon the reception of the sponsor licence renewal application from your company, the UKVI may request that you present additional documentation and/or information. Thereafter, the UKVI may choose to carry out a pre-renewal compliance visit before deciding on whether to grant you the licence renewal request or not.

      To renew your sponsor licence, you are required to comply with the following step-by-step guide:

      Step 1. Your Level 1 User Accesses the SMS

      A nominated Level 1 User in your company will need to log onto the SMS to make the renewal application. They just need to go to Licence renewal through the Licence summary and locate the application and services screen.

      Step 2. Choose the Organisation Size

      You need to choose the renewal fee that suits your organisation, that is, charitable sponsors, or large, medium, or small sponsors.

      Step 3: Finish the Sponsor Declaration

      Access the licence renewal declaration screen input the required details, such as your name, the date, and your position in the organisation, and select the declaration box.

      Step 4: Pay the Appropriate Renewal Fee

      Access the licence renewal payment screen and finish the payment process. You are required to pay the appropriate sponsor licence renewal fee. The rate typically differs depending on the size of the company, so you should confirm your classification at the time of the renewal application because it may have changed since you submitted the last licence application about 4 years ago.

      Step 5: Submit the Renewal 

      Fill out the submission sheet. Ensure you have a copy of this printout for record-keeping in your organisation.

      Key Documents and Information Required for Renewal

      A request for further business-related documents about your organisation may occasionally be sent by the Home Office caseworker to you. This could be any document that is associated with your organisation or any of the documents mentioned in Appendix A of the sponsor guidelines.

      As part of your organisation’s continuing sponsor compliance protocols, these records ought to be easily accessible. When renewing your licence, if you are a sponsor operating in specific industries and on specific routes, you are required to submit updated copies of specific documentation. For instance, companies sponsoring employees under the International Sportsperson route are required to submit an endorsement from a sports governing body.

      Likewise, to continue sponsoring workers on the International Agreement route and to verify their willingness to agree to the licence renewal application, sponsors of temporary workers who are diplomatic or consular missions or international organisations must obtain an official letter from the head of the mission, consulate, or organisation’s office located in the United Kingdom.

      Additionally, this letter must attest to their acceptance of the sponsorship requirements, which allow the Home Office to enter their property with express consent, and their acceptance of the limited waiver of diplomatic privileges and immunity, which enables the Home Office to conduct any pertinent compliance activity in accordance with the published guidance.

      If you fail to provide UKVI with any further documents within 5 working days, you run the risk of having your licence revoked, suspended, or downgraded, and having your sponsor licence renewal denied.

      Considerations for Different Types of Sponsor Licences

      As an Irish employer who wants to renew either a sponsor licence specifically for workers or a sponsor licence for temporary workers. You must consider the adherence of your company to the UK employment law.

      You must prove that your company complies with the demands of the employment law in your sponsor licence renewal application. You need to ensure that from the first day your new employees start work, they must have a written statement of employment.

      Documents that you want to provide to your sponsored employees, such as the employee handbook, employment contract, and GDPR privacy notifications, may be inspected by UKVI in order to confirm compliance. Additionally, as a sponsor, you must ensure that your rules do not discriminate against any individual or particular group within your workforce.

      You also need to be aware of the Equalities Act of 2010 and act in a way that is trustworthy, fair, courteous, and honest. To ensure all the requirements are met and you are completely compliant, go over the employment documents before submitting the application.

      Reach out to our team of expert immigration lawyers to help you choose the sponsor licence that best meets your company’s needs, if you seek to obtain one. We can also assist you in applying for your sponsor licence renewal.

      For advice on how to avoid refused sponsor licence renewal, how to check CoS status or any other way we can help you. Call us today on +353 061 518 025 or contact us online.

      It may take a few weeks to get a notification via SMS regarding application for sponsor licence renewals after submitting your application and any other supporting documentation requested by the UKVI.

      To decide whether to approve the renewal application, as a sponsor, you must be aware that the Home Office will conduct a very detailed investigation into your organisation and its sponsorship compliance.

      Additionally, if UKVI chooses to conduct a pre-renewal compliance visit, the timeframe may increase. You should ensure that the renewal submission and all accompanying documentation are accurate and complete.

      Also ensure that your personnel systems, records, procedures and HR are completely compliant to prevent processing delays. Decision on sponsor licence renewal applications should typically be expected within 8 weeks upon approval.

      Note that your sponsor licence will be extended temporarily while your application is being considered if you have filed a valid sponsored licence renewal application before the expiry of your existing licence.

      If you want to see the progress of your application for the sponsor licence renewal, you can track it with your SMS account in the ‘Applications and renewals tracking’ menu option in your SMS account.


      As an Irish employer in the UK, if your sponsor licence expires, your company will be removed from the Register of Licensed Sponsors. In light of this, you will no longer be able to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship application form to new employees.

      Besides that, the leave of the employees who are currently employed in your company will be curtailed. Your sponsored employers will also not be lawfully employed by your company. In light of this, your employer will have only 60 days to seek employment from a licensed sponsor in the UK, apply for a new visa to remain, or leave the country.

      You must act to know the best steps to take if you still need a licence to sponsor foreign workers upon the expiration of your sponsor licence. There are two options available; you may have to apply for a new sponsor licence, while the other option is to file a renewal application.

      It is ideal to seek guidance on this particular situation as it will assist you in identifying your options and the best approach to minimise expenses and issues for your company.

      What Sponsor Licence Holders Can Do If It Has Already Expired

      Upon the expiration of your sponsor licence, the steps that follow are typically costly and rigorous. You must take quick action, either by applying to the Home Office immediately to renew your licence or be advised on how to apply for a new one if it is the better option.

      How you have managed your licence in the past, the larger context and circumstances, and any other immigration-related matters will all play a major role in deciding how you should proceed. As soon as you learn that there is an issue with your licence, get advice to determine the best course of action to minimise losses and expenses for your company.

      Your sponsored employees will also need to decide regarding their next course of action. They can choose to wait for you to try and resolve the expiry issue with the Home Office.

      Besides that, they can look for another sponsor and apply for new employment that allows them to stay in the country before their limited leave expires. If it doesn’t work out, they may have to depart the UK.

      Contact us for help applying for renewal of your sponsor licence. Contact Us

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        How IAS Can Help You

        As an Irish sponsor licence holder, your licence must be current to keep your sponsored employees in your company. Once your sponsor licence expires you will no longer have the right to issue a UK Certificates of Sponsorship to potential talents.

        This is why you must strive to take quick action and follow-up your sponsor licence renewal process before its expiry date. You must ensure that you have always fulfilled your sponsor licence duties. That being said, it is possible to overlook certain details in your application.

        This is why it is crucial to seek expert sponsor guidance from immigration lawyers. Our immigration lawyers at IAS can help you navigate the process of submitting a compelling sponsor licence renewal application. We have assisted several Irish employers to secure sponsor licences and helped them file for successful licence renewal.

        To know more about your chances of getting a new sponsor licence or renewing your sponsor licence, or how to make changes to a certificate of sponsorship once assigned, IAS can help. Call us today on +353 061 518 025 or message us online.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  After the CoS is issued to an employee’s name, they will now go through the visa application process by themselves. This process includes two stages, such as the online application, and attending an appointment at their nearest UK embassy or visa application centre.

                  No, it is not ideal to submit a visa application with an expired CoS. The reason is that the CoS can only be used once and has a validity period of 3 months. Also, if an employee doesn’t use it within this period, it will become invalid.

                  An employee’s CoS has been used upon an unfavourable visa decision has been made. Therefore, they must be issued a new CoS to file another visa application.

                  Typically, it takes about 1 working day to complete the approval process for a CoS. However, the timeframe may be elongated if the Home Office requires additional information or documents regarding your application.