Calling all Sponsor Licence holders - | Hudson McKenzie

Calling all Sponsor Licence holders

Under the new points-based immigration system, UK companies must obtain a sponsor licence to recruit migrant workers from overseas to come and work for them in the UK from January 2021.

From 27November 2020, the Home Office has scheduled a list of changes that will affect a company’s sponsor licence. Although most of these changes will be applied systematically and can be viewed on the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) from 1December 2020, some action will be required by sponsor licence holders. The changes are:

SMS maintenance

  • Essential updates to the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) will take place from 19:00 pm on Friday 27November until 09:00 am on Tuesday 1 December 2020. This means that licence holders cannot access their SMS account, nor the Sponsor Licence Application form during this time.
  • During this process, all Tier 2 General, or Intra Company Transfer (ICT) Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) that have the ‘ready to go’ status will have their statuses amended to ‘work in progress’. They cannot be assigned.
  • In addition, any saved yet incomplete applications to add routes to a current licence will be erased. This means that these applications must be restarted once access to the SMS is granted again.
  • It is recommended that all applications are completed before these updates occur.
  • If a sponsor licence is due for expiry between the dates and times of these scheduled updates, it is advised that companies complete and submit their sponsor licence renewal application form before their licence expiration date. Should renewal applicants fail to do this, there is a grace period of 7 calendar days for applicants to submit their applications. If they fail to submit them within this extension time, then they will not be able to have their licences renewed. 

Licence and allocation update

  • Existing holders of the Tier 2 General and/or ICT will have their licence information updated systematically on 27November 2020. This will enable them to be licenced under the Skilled Worker and/or Intra-Company routes under the new points-based immigration system. The existing expiry date of the licence will stay the same.
  • The same applies for annual allocation of Tier 2 General and/or ICT CoS- they will be updated to the above-mentioned routes allocation and all unassigned CoS will be carried over. New allocations will have an expiry date that is identical to previous allocations. 
  • Requests to increase or renew annual allocation Tier 2 General and/or ICT CoS, these requests will be processed and possibly granted under the new immigration routes.
  • All CoS categories will be updated on the SMS from 1 December 2020. Any newly assigned Cos’s will be under the new categories.

Certificate of Sponsorship arrangements

  • It is advisable that licence holders act to ‘upgrade’ their Tier 2 General/ICT CoS whilst they assign them. This will reduce delays in the processing times of workers’ applications for entry clearance or stay in the UK.

Should you have any queries regarding the above information or if you require legal assistance with your sponsor licence application, please get in touch with a professional at Hudson McKenzie via email at or by telephone +44(0)20 3318 5794.