How Much Does It Cost to Get a UK Sponsorship Licence? Budgeting Tips Inside

A UK Sponsorship Licence is a crucial document for businesses seeking to employ non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals. It acts as a permission granted by the UK Home Office, allowing companies to hire international talent legally. Budgeting for this licence is vital, as the process involves several stages, each with its own costs. Understanding and planning for these expenses not only ensures compliance with immigration laws but also aids in efficient financial management. This blog post aims to guide businesses through the cost structure of obtaining and maintaining a UK Sponsorship Licence, offering insights into effective budgeting strategies.

Why You Need a Sponsorship Licence

Possessing a UK Sponsorship Licence offers businesses a significant advantage in today’s global marketplace. It enables employers to access a wider talent pool, filling crucial skills gaps with qualified professionals from around the world. This is particularly important in industries facing local talent shortages or requiring specialized skills not readily available in the domestic market. Additionally, having a diverse workforce can enhance a company’s cultural dynamics, fostering innovation and broader perspectives in business strategies. However, acquiring this licence comes with a responsibility to comply with strict immigration rules and regulations, making budgeting for associated costs a key aspect of business planning.

Types of Sponsorship Licences

The UK government offers two primary types of sponsorship licences: Tier 2 and Tier 5. The Tier 2 Licence is for skilled workers who will be employed long-term or permanently, while the Tier 5 Licence covers temporary workers. Each type targets different employment needs and comes with its own set of requirements and costs. For instance, Tier 2 includes categories like General, Intra-Company Transfer, Minister of Religion, and Sportsperson, each tailored to specific employment scenarios. Understanding the specifics of each licence type is crucial for employers to ensure they apply for the appropriate category and budget accordingly for the application and maintenance costs. For more details you can alkways visit

Initial Application Fee

The initial application fee for a UK Sponsorship Licence is a significant expense that varies based on the size and type of the applying organization. For small businesses and charitable organizations, the fee is approximately £536, while for medium to large companies, it is around £1,476. This fee is non-refundable, making it imperative for businesses to ensure they meet all eligibility criteria before applying. Additionally, companies need to consider the cost of gathering necessary documentation and potentially seeking legal advice, which can add to the initial financial outlay.

Certificate of Sponsorship (COS)


After obtaining the sponsorship licence, employers must issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) for each foreign employee they wish to hire. Each COS costs £199, and this fee is applicable for every individual sponsored. This recurring cost can add up, especially for businesses planning to hire multiple international employees. The COS is an electronic record, not a physical document, and it includes information about the job and the employee’s personal details. Budgeting for the COS fees is crucial, especially for companies in sectors with high turnover rates or those expanding their international workforce. It’s also essential to consider the expense of obtaining the Official Translation of a Document in the UK, which might be necessary for foreign employees’ legal paperwork or other official requirements.

Immigration Skills Charge

The Immigration Skills Charge is an additional fee aimed at incentivizing businesses to train domestic workers. This charge depends on the size of the company and the length of the employment contract. For small businesses and charities, the charge is £364 per year for each sponsored employee, while for larger companies, it is £1,000 per year. This fee can significantly increase the overall cost of employing an international worker, particularly for long-term contracts. Companies need to factor this charge into their hiring budgets and possibly consider investing in training programs for local employees as a cost-effective alternative.

Annual Renewal Fee

Businesses must renew their sponsorship licence every year, incurring a fee similar to the initial application cost. This regular expense is an important aspect of budget maintenance and must be anticipated in annual budgets. Timely renewal is crucial to avoid lapses in the licence, which can disrupt the ability to legally employ non-EEA nationals. Additionally, companies should budget for any changes in their circumstances, such as an increase in the number of international employees, which might move them into a higher fee bracket.

Resident Labour Market Test


The Resident Labour Market Test is an additional step required for some Tier 2 applications, where employers must prove that no suitable settled worker is available for the job. This involves advertising the position in the UK for a set period. The costs associated with this test vary, including advertising fees and administrative expenses. These can range from a few hundred to over a thousand pounds, depending on the platforms used and the duration of the advertising campaign. Budgeting for these costs is essential, especially for roles that are challenging to fill with local talent.

Sponsorship Management System (SMS)

The Sponsorship Management System (SMS) is an online platform used to manage sponsorship licences. While the basic usage of SMS comes with the licence, additional services or user access might incur fees, usually under £100. These services include requesting additional COS or making changes to the licence. Although these costs are relatively small, they can accumulate over time, especially for businesses with a high frequency of sponsorship activities.

Tips for Budgeting

Effective budgeting for a UK Sponsorship Licence involves planning for both fixed and variable costs. Businesses should anticipate their future hiring needs, considering both the number of international employees and the duration of their contracts. It’s advisable to allocate a specific budget for immigration-related expenses and regularly review it against actual expenditures. Employers should also stay informed about changes in immigration laws and fees, as these can impact future budgets.

Hidden Costs to Consider


Apart from the direct costs, businesses should be aware of potential hidden expenses. These include legal consultation fees, which can be significant, especially for complex cases or appeals. Training and compliance costs, such as ensuring HR staff are up to date with sponsorship duties and immigration laws, are also important. Additionally, businesses should budget for potential compliance audits by the Home Office, which can lead to additional administrative costs.


Effectively budgeting for a UK Sponsorship Licence is a multi-faceted process involving various costs, both direct and indirect. By understanding and anticipating these expenses, businesses can ensure efficient financial management and maintain compliance with immigration regulations. This not only facilitates the successful acquisition and renewal of the sponsorship licence but also enables businesses to leverage international talent effectively.

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