It is not unusual for UK sponsor licences to be rejected by the Home Office. These applications have to be filled in meticulously and seemingly inconsequential errors can lead to a rejection. Here is what you need to know about the most common mistakes and what to do if your application has been rejected.

Has your UK sponsor licence application been rejected or refused?

While these seem like they are the same thing, they are not. A rejection is different from a refusal in that the Home Office is saying that they will not even assess your application because it is incomplete.

On the other hand, a refusal is the Home Office saying that they have assessed your application and they do not think your business is fit to sponsor migrant workers.

If your application has been refused, you may have to wait until a “cooling off” period has passed before you reapply. If your application has been rejected, on the other hand, then the good news is that you can have it reassessed. The bad news is that you will have to join the back of the queue.

The standard processing time for a sponsor licence is eight weeks, and by not submitting a completed application, you can delay this process further. This means that any Certificates of Sponsorship you wish to provide will be delayed and this, in turn, will mean a delay in your sponsored workers being able to obtain their visas.

Reasons why your sponsor licence could be rejected

1. Not providing accurate information

You must provide accurate and detailed information in your sponsor licence application. If you leave any information out, your application will not be considered. Providing inaccurate information can also damage your reputation and credibility as an employer.

To apply for a UK sponsor licence, the following information must be included in the application:

  • Business details: The name, address, and contact details of the organisation applying for the sponsor licence.
  • Type of licence: The type of licence being applied for, a Worker or Temporary Worker, which can include the Skilled Worker or Global Business Mobility visa categories.
  • Key personnel: The details of the personnel who will be responsible for managing the sponsor licence within the organisation, including their name, job title, and contact information.
  • Company structure: The organisation's legal structure, such as limited company, sole trader, or partnership.
  • Information about the organisation's trading activities: This includes the type of business the organisation conducts, its industry sector, and details of any overseas activities or branches.
  • HR systems and procedures: Details of HR systems and procedures in place to ensure compliance with UK immigration law, such as recruitment, record keeping, and monitoring.
  • Supporting documents: The application must be supported by relevant documents, such as the organisation's certificate of incorporation, business bank statements, and evidence of any relevant accreditations or certifications.

2. Paying the incorrect fee

The fees for UK sponsor licences can vary depending on the type of licence being applied for and the size of the organisation. The fees are set by the UK government and are subject to change.

If the wrong fee is paid, the application may not be considered complete, and the processing of the application may be delayed. In some cases, the application may be rejected outright, and the organisation will have to reapply, paying the correct fee.

Additionally, paying the correct fee is important because it ensures that the organisation is meeting its obligations as a sponsor. By paying the appropriate fee, your organisation is demonstrating that it is committed to complying with UK immigration law and is willing to invest the necessary resources to support the visa process for sponsored workers.

Paying the correct fee can also help you save money in the long run. Overpaying can result in unnecessary expenses, while underpaying can result in your application being rejected, causing you to incur additional costs to reapply.

How much does a UK sponsor licence cost?

Type of licenceFee for small or charitable sponsorsFee for medium or large sponsors
Worker£ 536£ 1479
Temporary Worker£ 536£ 536
Worker and Temporary Worker£536£1476
Add a Worker licence to an existing Temporary Worker licence No fee£940
Add a Temporary Worker licence to an existing Worker licence No feeNo fee

*All fees are accurate at the time of publishing and are provided for informational purposes only.  Please be sure to seek confirmation before making your application.

3. Failure to maintain compliance

Maintaining compliance for a UK sponsor licence is critical for organisations that want to sponsor foreign nationals to work in the UK. Failure to maintain compliance can result in your sponsor licence being revoked, which can have serious consequences for your ability to employ skilled foreign workers.

Some ways that an organisation can fail to maintain compliance for a UK sponsor licence include:

  • Failing to keep accurate records: UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requires sponsors to maintain accurate records of their migrant workers, including details of their visa status and employment history.
  • Failure to report changes: Sponsors are required to report any changes to their organisation, including changes to the ownership structure, the types of roles they sponsor, and any changes to their migrant workers' employment status.
  • Failing to comply with UKVI guidance: Sponsors must comply with the UKVI's guidance on sponsorship, including requirements for Right to Work checks and compliance with the Code of Practice.
  • Failing to pay the appropriate salaries: Sponsors are required to pay migrant workers the appropriate salaries for their roles, as set out in the Codes of Practice.
  • Failing to comply with immigration laws: Sponsors must comply with all relevant immigration laws, including those relating to Right to Work checks, visa applications, and reporting requirements.
  • Failing to cooperate with UKVI: Sponsors must cooperate with UKVI's requests for information and inspections.

4. Omitting a cover letter

Many businesses that are rejected for a sponsor licence tend to not submit a cover letter with their application. The cover letter must detail how the company will meet the eligibility criteria for sponsorship.

The cover letter will look better as a signed letter on business-headed paper but a simple email to the Home Office is also acceptable. The letter, along with the relevant documents, should be sent via email after the online sponsor licence application has been submitted.

The main points to mention in your cover letter are:

  • Why you are applying for a sponsor licence
  • What sector you operate in
  • Your business website
  • What your operating hours are (during the week)
  • Job title and Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code of those you wish to sponsor
  • Duties included within the position
  • List of directors and employees and where each job sits in the hierarchy of the company
  • Salary you would guarantee for each job if it were vacant today
  • Skills, experience and qualifications required for the job
  • >Details of recruitment methods used
  • Names of all the people who have access to the email address supplied with the online sponsor licence application.
  • Potential candidate information such as their full name, date of birth, nationality and current immigration status.

What can we do for you if your application has already been rejected?

As seen from the above, it is easy to miss out on a step or leave out crucial information from a sponsor licence application.

If you have had your sponsor licence rejected, our OISC registered immigration caseworkers will assist in confirming that you are eligible for a sponsor licence and that you have the relevant documents. We will help with filling out the online form before submitting it on your behalf, along with a cover letter detailing the reasons for applying for a sponsor licence and how you meet the requirements for sponsorship.


Our team of dedicated business immigration consultants knows exactly what information the Home Office requires to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Our experienced team in the UK can guide you through these complexities. Contact us on +44 (0) 20 7759 5307 or at

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