What are the key personnel in a sponsor licence?

A sponsor licence allows a UK company to sponsor and employ non-EEA migrants. The Tier 2 category of the Points-Based System (PBS) is the primary immigration route for non-European Economic Area (EEA) migrants wishing to work in the UK.

How can you apply for a sponsor licence?

To apply for a licence, the sponsor must register on the UKVI website https://www.points.homeoffice.gov.uk/gui-sponsor-jsf/SponsorHome.faces. Once the employer has registered, the sponsor will be able to log into the Home Office website https://www.points.homeoffice.gov.uk/gui-sponsor-jsf/Home/SponsorHome.faces.

The employer also needs to check if the business is eligible for a sponsor licence and choose the appropriate type of licence (Tier 2 General, Tier 2 ICT or Tier 5).

It normally takes 30 minutes to complete the online application form. Please note that the sponsor has to send all the supporting documents within 5 working days once the online application is submitted and paid for.

Who are the ‘Key personnel’?

The online sponsor application requires the employer to assign certain responsibilities in order to access the sponsorship management system (SMS) once the licence is granted. There are 4 key roles: Authorising Officer, Key Contact, Level 1 User and Level 2 User. Please note that only Level 1 and Level 2 users are permitted access to the SMS.

What are the duties of the key roles in sponsor licence?

Authorising Officer (AO)

This role must be filled by the most senior person responsible for the recruitment of all migrant workers and ensuring that all the sponsor duties are met.

The Authorising Officer is also responsible for deciding who can have access to the SMS and what level of permission they can have.

Key Contact (KC)

The Key Contact is usually the main intermediately between the sponsor and the Home Office. The UKVI will email the KC if there are any queries in relation to the sponsor licence application, the supporting documents or the payment, as well as other matters.

Level 1 User (L1U)

The Level 1 User can be the Authorising Officer or another person employed in the organisation. As a Level 1 User, he/she must carry out day-to-day sponsorship activities using SMS.

When the sponsor applies for a licence at the first time, the sponsor can only nominate one Level 1 user. In addition, the employer must always have a minimum of one Level 1 user who is a settled worker.

An employer can nominate more than L1U:

  • A paid staff member or office holder within your organisation;
  • An employee of a third-party organisation engaged by you to deliver all or part of your HR function;
  • A UK-based representative.


They must not:

  • Be a contractor;
  • Be a consultant who is contracted for a specific project;
  • Be a temporary staff member supplied offence by an employment agency;
  • Have an undischarged bankruptcy.


A L1U can perform several actions via the SMS, for example, assign CoS to workers, add Level 2 users to the SMS or remove them, withdraw CoS, report any changes of SMS circumstances, amend user details and work address.

Level 2 User (L2U)

A Level 2 User has a lower level of access than a Level 1 User. A Level 2 User can perform the following actions in SMS:

  • Assign CoS to workers;
  • Report worker activity to the Home Office.


Contact Our Immigration Team

For expert advice regarding any aspect of sponsor licence application, please contact our immigration team on 0203 384 3075.


The content of this article is for general use and information only. Since each case should be prepared on its own merit and in light of the constant amendments to the Immigration Rules, it is important to note that the information provided must not be relied upon unless Migra & Co has either given written consent or has been officially engaged in relation to a specific immigration matter. As a result, Migra & Co will take no responsibility for any damage, cost or loss resulting from relying on the information contained in this article, blog and website.