What are the duties of a Sponsor?

As a licensed sponsor, the UK employer has to fulfil certain duties. There are a wide range of duties which apply to all sponsors, whilst others are specific to those licensed under certain categories.

What is the sponsorship management system (SMS)?

Once the UK employer has been awarded a sponsor licence, they will be able to gain access to the sponsorship management system (SMS). The SMS is an online platform that allows an employer to implement day to day activities and report any changes to their migrants’ duties, employment or salary to the Home Office. The employer will also use the system to assign certificates of sponsorship (CoS) to non-EEA migrants.

The SMS can also be used to inform the Home Office of any changes relating to its ‘key personnel’.

Duties that apply to all sponsors

1) Record keeping duties

The employer must have a record as well as keep the documents and make them available to the Home Office on request. For instance, a photocopy or electronic copy of the relevant pages of each sponsored migrant’ passport or UK immigration status document and biometric residence permit showing their entitlement to work.

In addition, the employer must have a record of each sponsored migrant’s contact details, and to update UK residential address or mobile phone number etc.

2) Reporting duties

The UK employer must report certain information or events to the Home Office using the SMS within any time limit set (usually 10 working days), for example, any information regarding the migrant’s non-attendance, non-compliance or disappearance, which will then be used to take enforcement action against them.

3) Complying with the law

The employer has to comply with the UK immigration as well as the UK employment law, for example, by paying National Minimum Wage, pension and paid holiday entitlement.

4) Genuine vacancy

The Home Office might request additional information or evidence to show that the employer has met the genuine vacancy requirement.

A genuine vacancy is one which:

  • requires the jobholder to perform the specific duties and responsibilities for the job and meets all of the requirements of the category
  • does not include dissimilar and/or lower-skilled duties


5) Co-operating with the Home Office

The Home Office might decide to visit the company without any prior notice. The employer and any third parties will have to cooperate with the Home Office and during the visit and company with the request to see document, interview and speak with the authorising officer.

Category specific duties under Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer)

When the UK employer assigns a CoS under Tier 2 (G) or ICT category, they must guarantee one of the flowing:

  • Carried out a genuine resident labour market test in accordance with the rules in force at the time
  • the job is exempt from the resident labour market test
  • the job appeared in a UK-wide shortage occupation listed in Appendix K to the Immigration Rules, on the date that you assigned the CoS
  • if the job is in Scotland, the job appeared in a shortage occupation listed for Scotland in Appendix K to the Immigration Rules, on the date that you assigned the CoS


Contact Our Immigration Team

For expert advice regarding any aspect of the sponsor licence application, please contact our immigration team on 0203 384 3075 or email [email protected]


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.