As part of the Home Office guidance for employers on sponsoring a non-UK resident workers, Appendix A lists the supporting documents you must provide as part of your organisation’s sponsor licence application to evidence eligibility for a sponsor licence under the Worker, Temporary Worker or Student routes.
In most cases, you will need to provide at least four supporting documents from those cited in Appendix A. The documentary requirements do, however, vary, for example, based on the type of organisation that is applying.
In limited cases, you may be exempt the documentation requirements, for example, if you are listed on the main market of the London stock exchange or are a recognised public body.
Any documentation required to validate your application will need to be submitted within five working days of the initial online application, or your application will not be processed.
Appendix A was most recently updated in April 2023, and applies to sponsorship licence applications made on or after 14 April 2023. The changes included clarification that supporting documents should accompany an application if the relevant document or information is not available online and updating the list of supporting documents in all four tables to include requirements under the new sponsored immigration routes such as the Global Business Mobility (GBM) Senior or Specialist Worker and Graduate Trainee routes.
Appendix A & sponsor licence applications
An application for a sponsor licence will need to be made online via the Home Office’s Sponsorship Management System. You will also need to pay an application fee.
The online form is, in itself, relatively straightforward. It is seeking to establish the nature of your business and that you are a legitimate organisation. The form is then supplemented with key documentary evidence that must be submitted within a limited timescale.
To determine the documents you will need to submit, you will need to consult the list of mandatory documents as specified in Appendix A. The mandatory documents are set out in tables, based on the type of employer and category of licence being applying for.
- Businesses operating under 18 months will be subject to more extensive documentation requirements.
- Food businesses must send evidence of registration or approval by food authority.
- Franchises must submit their Franchise Agreement signed by both parties.
How to use Appendix A
The Appendix A tables are extensive and in practice, it is not always obvious which tables and documents are relevant to the specific organisation making the application. Taking advice on your circumstances from experienced advisers will help to ensure you avoid issues or delays with your application.
Appendix A is made up of four tables, which should be used as follows:
Appendix A Table 1
Details exemptions to the requirement on licence applicants to provide four items of supporting documentation. Those listed in table 1 should follow the specific instructions and submit only what is requested.
Public bodies not listed on the government website are required to submit a cover letter or an email from the relevant sponsoring government department, or providing the name of the sponsoring department for the Home Office to perform a check.
Scale-up sponsors applying under the endorsing body pathway must meet evidential requirements, including providing their letter of endorsement (issued no more than 3 months previously) with their endorsement reference number, as well as relevant documents from Table 2 if the organisation is subject to registration with or inspection by a regulatory body.
Organisations applying under the Scale Up ‘standard pathway’ are not required to submit documents per table 2, unless they have to be registered with, or inspected or monitored by, a regulatory body to operate lawfully in the UK.
Employers not referenced in table 1 should move on to table 2.
Appendix A Table 2
Lists the documents that must be provided to support your licence application if you are a start-up (operating for under 18 months), franchise, charity, or are subject to regulation, inspection or monitoring.
The documents will vary depending on the type of organisation making the application.
Startup organisations are required to provide evidence of a current corporate account with a UK bank registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, except when applying via the GBM UK Expansion Worker route.
As opposed to counting as a single document – as is the case for all other applicant organisations – corporate bank statements and a letter from the bank in Table 3 will count as two documents for start-up companies.
Since 14 April 2023, it has no longer been possible for startups to submit four specified documents in lieu of the required documents in tables 1 to 3 when these were unavailable.
Sponsor applicants for organisations subject to mandatory registration, such as care homes, insurance companies and healthcare providers, must indicate who regulates them and supply their registration number. If the regulatory body does not maintain an online public register, the application must be accompanied by proof of registration and a list of all branches or sites to be included on the licence.
If a charity is applying under a name other than the one under which it is registered, the sponsor applicant must provide additional proof of its charitable status, if this information is not already available online.
Where further additional documents are needed, go to table 3.
Appendix A Table 3
Table 3 details any further documents that are required relating to the type of licence application you are making, such as the GBM Senior or Specialist Worker, UK Expansion Worker and Graduate Trainee routes, and T2 Minister of Religion or Religious Worker routes.
Some routes demand substantially more documentation than others. For example, if sponsoring a GBM Service Supplier worker, the organisation must submit evidence of a services contract lasting 12 months or less, that is genuine and eligible under Annex GBM1 of Sponsor a Global Business Mobility Worker, and that was secured through an open tendering, or similar, process.
Table 3 stipulates that UK Expansion route applications require four different documents, unless the organisation is exempt. This is in addition to any relevant mandatory documents as specified under table 2.
If applicable, documents will need to be provided to show:
- Evidence that the organisation has a UK presence, ie a “footprint”. This can be evidenced by showing a Companies House registration number or proof of owned or rented business premises in the UK.
- Specific documentary evidence that the organisation trades overseas for at least 12 months before the date of the licence application.
- Evidence that the organisation has plans and the capability to expand into the UK.
- At least one of a number of other specific, business-related documents.
Where you have not been able to identify four documents from tables 1, 2 or 3, you should refer to table 4.
Appendix A Table 4
This list applies if you are unable to identify four documents from tables 1, 2 or 3. Use this list to make the number of documents to submit a minimum of four.
Depending on the instructions from tables 1-4, your supporting documents could include:
- Organisation details, Authorising Officer, Key Contact, Level 1 user, other users and representatives
- The number of Certificates of Sponsorship you need and your reasons for this number
- The names and trading dates of your organisation if it has traded under another name in the last four years
- Your organisation’s size and sector
- Articles of association must be for the overseas business in respect of UK Expansion Worker applications
- The name and registration number of any accrediting or governing body
- The name and registration number of any Stock Exchange your organisation is registered with
- Details of any criminal convictions or civil penalties payment card details
- Any other mandatory documents applicable to your organisation under Appendix A
Additional supporting information
Depending on the type of licence you are applying for, further mandatory information may be required in addition to the documents from tables 1-4. Failure to meet this additional requirement will result in a rejected application.
For example, with a skilled worker licence application, or if you intend to sponsor workers under the T2 Minister of Religion route, you are also required to provide the following information, in addition the relevant mandatory documents:
- Why you are applying for a sponsor licence
- Which sector you operate in
- What your opening/operating hours are
- An up to date organogram detailing the organisational hierarchy including owners, directors & board members
- If you have 50 employees or fewer, list all employees’ names and job titles
- Which jobs you are recruiting for including:
- Job title & Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code– Job description & duties
- Where each job sits on the organogram
- Expected salary level
- Skills, experience and qualifications required for each job
In the event you have already found a candidate for the role, you should provide the following details with your application:
- Candidate’s full name
- Candidate’s date of birth
- Candidate’s nationality
- Candidate’s current immigration status
- Candidate’s current job title and duties
- Candidate’s 3 months’ payslips, if applicable
What if the supporting documents are not in English or Welsh?
Documents that are not originally in English or Welsh have to be accompanied by a certified translation. The certified translator must state in writing:
- that it’s a ‘true and accurate translation of the original document’
- the date of the translation
- the full name and contact details of the translator or a representative of the translation company
If you are submitting any affidavits or statutory declarations, these must have been witnessed by a suitable qualified, independent professional such as a solicitor, Notary Public, Justice of the Peace, Commissioner for Oaths, or (in Scotland only) a Councillor.
How to submit your Appendix A supporting documents
Having completed and submitted the application form through the SMS, you have to email your submission sheet, signed and dated by your organisation’s appointed authorising officer, in addition to the required supporting documents. If the documents or information are available online, you will not need to submit copies. Any mandatory documents or information not accessible for online checks must be provided in electronic format by email.
You have only five days after completing the form to submit the supporting documents. These should be provided in electronic format – either PDF, or JPEG or PNG – by email to the email address on the submission sheet.
When compiling the documents:
- You can take a photocopy or photograph of the original documents.
- Avoid large file sizes but ensure image quality is appropriate.
- Save as black and white rather than colour for low file size.
- File name should be no longer than 25 characters.
The Home Office reserves the right to request documents in original form or certified copies, to be sent by post. The documents will then be returned for the attention of the Authorising Officer at the address listed in your application.
When do you need to submit the supporting documents?
Strict timeframes apply when making your sponsor licence application. After submitting the online firm, you have only five working days to submit all of the supporting documentation.
It is advisable to collate and check all the documents in advance of submitting the form to help reduce the risk of errors. Should any of the mandatory documents be missing, incorrect or incomplete, the licence application will be rejected and the application fee refunded.
The Home Office reserves the right to request additional documents and information beyond the mandatory documentation. They will do this by contacting you by email, typically giving you a further five days to provide the requested documents. Such requests will inevitably delay the sponsor licence application process, making it advisable to ensure your initial submission is comprehensive and anticipates any potential queries or issues.
If you ignore a request for additional information, the application will be rendered invalid and refused. You will also lose the sponsor licence application fee.
Online checks under Appendix A
If the documentation required is available in online format, you should advise the Home Office using a covering email or letter with a link to the relevant webpage.
Appendix A gives the example of care homes, who can provide a link to the CQC website to verify company registration with the regulatory body.
The Appendix also notes that where the name of the organisation on the sponsor licence application is different to that on the registration document, this should be clarified in a covering email or letter, with supporting evidence provided to show that the organisations are the same.
What if I can’t provide the right documents from Appendix A for your sponsor licence application?
In the event that you fail to provide the necessary documentation in support of your application for a sponsor licence, you risk your application being significantly delayed, or even completely denied.
The most common grounds for delays or refusals are linked to applications in which the supporting documentation has not been submitted within the permitted timescale (five days of submitting the form), it is incomplete or out-of-date, or copy documents have not been correctly certified.
It is at the discretion of the Home Office to request additional documentation, where failure to comply with the documentary requirements first time round runs the risk of outright refusal.
Where a request is made for further documentation, you will be given seven days to submit these to the Home Office. Any failure to do so will almost certainly result in your application being denied, and your fee will be non-refundable.
What if your sponsor licence application is refused or rejected?
There is no right of appeal if your licence application is not granted. However, there is an important distinction between whether a sponsor licence application is refused or rejected, which will determine the options open to you and your next steps.
Sponsor licence application rejected
Sponsor licence applications will be considered invalid and will be rejected if any of the relevant mandatory documentation are not submitted. In these circumstances, the application fee will be refunded.
Other examples when the Home Office can reject an application can include if a submitted document is not correctly certified or if there are certain issues with the suitability of the appointed key personnel.
If your licence has been rejected, you are allowed to make a new application. You should take steps to ensure the new application is compliant by correcting the issue or error which had resulted in the rejection.
Sponsor licence application refused
The Home Office can decide to refuse a sponsor licence application if it determines the organisation does not meet the licence eligibility criteria. Grounds for sponsor licence refusal include:
- Where the Home Office requests additional information or documents and this request is ignored.
- If the applicant organisation has previously had a sponsor licence revoked.
- If the applicant organisation has submitted false supporting documentation.
If your organisation’s sponsor licence application is refused, you will not be refunded the licence application fee. You will also be subject to a cooling-off period of at least six months before you can apply again for a sponsor licence.
The Home Office will set the length of the cooling off period, up to a maximum of 12 months, depending on the specific circumstances and the severity of the issues involved.
If you believe the refusal is due to a Home Office error, you can make a request to correct the issue using the pre-licence error correction form. This form can only be used if you believe the Home Office made a “simple error” in its decision-making, or if you believe the Home Office failed to consider all of the documentation submitted with the application. The guidance states that this does not result in a “full reconsideration” of the application, and that new documents or information will not be considered as part of the correction request.
The completed form should be emailed by your organisation’s Authorising Officer to the ErrorCorrectionTeam@homeoffice.gov.uk within 14 days of the date of the Home Office decision letter. Only one correction request can be made per licence application.
What are the criteria for a sponsor licence?
When employing a skilled worker under the Worker or Temporary Worker routes, a sponsor licence is required to show that:
- The foreign worker will fill a genuine vacancy, and
- As the sponsoring employer, you agree to meet all of the duties and responsibilities associated with the grant of a sponsor licence.
In your application for a sponsor licence you must show you meet certain eligibility and suitability requirements, in particular, you must show that you are a genuine organisation operating lawfully in the UK.
You must also demonstrate the following:
- Your organisation can offer a genuine vacancy that meets the category-specific skill level and minimum rates of pay.
- Your organisation has appropriate systems in place to meet your sponsorship duties and responsibilities. It is not uncommon for the Home Office to attend on site to inspect your HR systems and interview key personnel either before or after granting a sponsor licence, and new guidance in August 2022 stated new powers to conduct digital compliance inspections as well as, or instead of, on-site compliance visits.
- The key personnel named on your licence application are suitable to undertake the necessary sponsorship duties and do not present any threat to UK immigration control. The Home Office will consider any history of immigration violations or unspent criminal convictions for a relevant offence.
You may also have to evidence that you meet any specific requirements under the route you will be sponsoring under, such as:
- Worker licence for the following visa categories:
- Skilled Worker
- GBM Senior or Specialist Worker visa
- Minister of Religion
- International Sportsperson
- Temporary Worker licence for the following visa categories:
- Scale-up Worker
- Creative Worker
- Charity Worker
- Religious Worker
- Government Authorised Exchange
- International Agreement
- GBM Graduate Trainee
- GBM Service Supplier
- GBM UK Expansion Worker
- GBM Secondment Worker
- Seasonal Worker
If your application is successful you will be granted a sponsor licence for a period of four years. As a licensed sponsor you will be allowed to issue certificates of sponsorship for any foreign workers that you wish to employ.
However, this does not in itself guarantee that any prospective workers will be given permission to enter or stay in the UK.
Each individual must still meet the necessary visa requirements to obtain entry clearance or further leave to remain. They must also remain compliant with the conditions of their stay once they are in the UK.
Appendix A Sponsor Licence: What are my sponsor licence duties?
Having been granted a licence to sponsor a migrant worker, you will be given access to what’s known as the Sponsor Management System (SMS) run by the Home Office.
The SMS is an online tool that allows you to administer your day-to-day sponsor activities, such as assigning certificates of sponsorship.
It will also allow you to report any changes in the circumstances of an individual foreign worker. As a licensed sponsor you have a number of duties and responsibilities so as to ensure compliance with the immigration rules and prevent abuse of the system.
These duties include keeping accurate and up-to-date records of foreign nationals working for you, as well as monitoring and reporting certain migrant activities, such as non-attendance, non-compliance or disappearance.
Failure to comply with sponsor duties
When you are granted sponsorship status, you will be placed on the register of sponsors and given an “A” licence rating.
In the event that you fail to comply with your duties as a sponsor, you are at risk of having your licence rating downgraded or, worse still, your licence can be suspended or revoked.
You are also required to carry out “right to work” checks on the individuals that you sponsor to ensure that they are legally entitled to work in the UK and to undertake the work in question.
If migrants are found to be working illegally in circumstances where you have failed to carry out the prescribed document checks, or are unable to prove this with reference to proper records, you are at risk of a civil penalty, or even criminal prosecution.
Appendix A Sponsor Licence FAQs
What is Appendix A?
Appendix A of the sponsor guidance details the supporting documents that organisations must provide with an application for a sponsor licence.
Which documents must be provided with a sponsor licence application?
The mandatory documents and information required with the licence application will vary by type of organisation and type of sponsor licence being applied for, as stipulated under Appendix A.
How do you submit the supporting documents?
The supporting documents must be emailed to the Home Office within 5 working days of the online application form being submitted.
The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.