Please note the new PBS system has now gone live. All companies / organisations looking to sponsor someone will require a licence approved by the UK Border Agency. Call us for our audit and compliance team to assist in this matter.

This section explains the changes that have come into affect regarding work permits applications . The Border Agency ie UK Government are responsible for the issuing of sponsorship licences, grading sponsors as A or B grade and conducting site visits and audits to monitor and enforce Immigration regulations. It is the responsibility of the sponsor to ensure that the conditions of the UK sponsorship licence are met

How Does Sponsorship Work?

Sponsorship is based on two key principles, that firstly UK institutions who benefit most from skilled migration shoulder the responsibility for helping to prevent abuse of the system. Secondly, the system aims to ensure that those coming to the UK are eligible to do so, and they have a genuine offer of a place of work or study and therefore sponsorship. In the first instance, a prospective sponsor will apply to the Border Agency in order to be granted a licence. When successfully licensed, a sponsor can apply for a number of certificates of sponsorship, which they can then present to their people whom they intend to sponsor. Once a prospective employee has been allocated a certificate of sponsorship, he or she will be eligible to apply for UK entry clearance. It should be noted that a successful grant of a sponsorship certificate does not constitute the right to enter the UK; rather, it fulfills the prerequisite of sponsorship, allowing a candidate to progress to making a visa application. Once a person is present in the UK, their sponsor will be obliged to take responsibility for them. This extends from keeping sufficient records of each person through to informing the Border Agency in cases where a person does not turn up for work or study and takes absence without permission for a significant time.

Immigration Compliance

The requirements outlined above are enforced by the Border Agency who will monitor sponsors through immigration compliance checks; visits to the sponsor's premises, whether pre-arranged or not to review the sponsor's conduct in relation to their obligations of holding a licence. The Border Agency also review sponsor activity through "hard" or "soft review points based on numbers of certificates. In cases where sponsor behaviour is found to be below the required standards, a civil or where appropriate, criminal prosecution will be imposed. are qualified by the OISC and are able to review company procedures to see if they are compliant

Sponsorship Ratings

Sponsors will be rated in one of two categories, A or B. The majority will be A rated, however, in some cases the Border Agency may only award a B grade based on its risk assessments. Sponsors can also be demoted to a B rating if the Border Agency feels that it is not fulfilling its obligations or poses a threat to UK immigration . In most cases of demotion, sponsors will be given an opportunity to argue their case however, as a B rated sponsor they will be given a time limited "action plan" to regain A-status.

Call us for help in all your work permit needs: 44(0)20 7866 8170

For general licence enquiries email: chris (at)

IWP have assisted 100s of companies to get a sponsorship licence, call us to see how we can help!

Do not risk the disappointment and stress of refusal, when this can be avoided by a simple, no-obligation phone call: +44 (0) 207 866 8170