The UK sponsor licence ratings are used by UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) to grade the compliance of sponsor organisations. The rating system aims to help failing sponsors get back on track, by providing them with a clear action plan that explains exactly what improvements need to be made and gives them time to address these issues before action is taken against their licence.

A UK sponsor license is a document issued by the UK Home Office that allows a company or organization to sponsor non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals for the purpose of working in the UK. The Home Office rates each sponsor on a scale from A to D based on their compliance with immigration rules and their ability to prevent abuse of the system.

A-Rating: This means that the organization has met all of the UKVI’s requirements and is a trusted sponsor. Organizations with an A-rating can renew their sponsorship license without needing to re-apply.

B-Rating: Organizations that achieve a B-rating have met most of the UKVI’s requirements but have not met all of them. Organizations with a B-rating may need to re-apply for a renewal of their sponsorship license depending on the circumstances.

C-Rating: Organizations that achieve a C-rating have not met the majority of the UKVI’s requirements and have been deemed as not meeting their criteria for sponsorship. Organizations with a C-rating must re-apply for a new sponsorship license.

D-Rating: The lowest rating is a D-rating, which means that the organization has failed to meet any of the UKVI’s requirements and will be immediately removed from their sponsorship register. Organizations with a D-rating are unable to renew their sponsorship license and must re-apply for a new one.

It’s important for the sponsor to maintain a good rating, as a low rating can lead to difficulty in sponsoring employees, and in severe cases, revocation of the sponsor license.

Importance of Sponsor Licence Rating

Sponsor license rating is an important tool for employers to ensure their business is compliant with the UK immigration system. It is a rating system used by the Home Office to monitor and assess sponsors’ compliance with the points-based system (PBS). The sponsor license rating affects employers’ ability to employ foreign nationals, as it indicates whether they have sufficient processes in place to track the progress and whereabouts of their sponsored employees.

Sponsor license ratings are based on the overall performance of a sponsor’s recruitment processes and compliance with the conditions of the licence. A low rating can affect employers’ ability to obtain new sponsorship licences or renew existing ones.

It is important for employers to understand their sponsor license rating and ensure that all processes related to sponsoring employees are in line with the requirements of the Home Office. This includes ensuring that all documents related to employee sponsorship, such as evidence of qualifications and Right to Work checks, are kept up to date and compliant. Employers should also ensure that they maintain accurate records of sponsored employees’ visas, payrolls, and other employment information, and regularly review their sponsor licence rating.

Criteria for Sponsor Licence Rating

When a company is looking to hire foreign nationals, it needs to obtain a sponsor license from the UK Home Office. The license is awarded based on a number of criteria which include:

1. Business reputation – The applicant must demonstrate a good business reputation and financial stability. This is judged by the quality of their business practices, and the ability to provide a safe and secure environment for workers.

2. Compliance history – The applicant must have an established record of compliance with immigration rules and regulations. This includes demonstrating a good track record of complying with sponsor duties and responsibilities.

3. Resources – The applicant must demonstrate that they have the appropriate resources and facilities in place to meet the needs of sponsored workers. This includes the provision of suitable accommodation and necessary equipment.

4. Record-keeping – The applicant must keep accurate and up-to-date records of all sponsored employees, including their contact details and job roles.

5. Employment monitoring – The applicant must ensure that sponsored workers are not working beyond their conditions of stay and are following the UK’s minimum wage legislation.

By meeting these criteria, applicants can be successful in obtaining a Sponsor License from the UK Home Office, enabling them to employ foreign nationals in their businesses.

How do I find out my Licence Rating?

Sponsors are assigned a rating of A or B based on compliance with their policies and procedures. An organisation will start out with an A rating when it first receives its sponsor licence. If a sponsor is found to be deficient in some way, then its rating will be downgraded to either B, depending on how serious the issue is. If your organisation has been issued with a B-rating you should urgently contact UKVI for advice and guidance on how to get back on track.

You can find out your sponsor license rating by contacting the UK Home Office’s Sponsorship Management Team. They will be able to tell you your current rating, as well as provide information on what you need to do to improve it if necessary.

You can contact the Sponsorship Management Team via email or phone. The contact information is available on the UK Visas and Immigration’s website.

Alternatively, you can check your sponsor license rating on the sponsor management system (SMS) If you are registered on the SMS, you will be able to view your current rating, as well as information on any action that needs to be taken to improve it.

It is important to note that you should keep an eye on your rating and take action if necessary to maintain a good rating, as a low rating can lead to difficulty in sponsoring employees, and in severe cases, revocation of the sponsor license.

Consequences of Poor Sponsor Licence Rating

If you are an employer sponsoring a foreign worker, then you must maintain a good sponsor license rating. A poor rating can have serious consequences. Here are some of the consequences you may face if your sponsor license rating falls below the required standards.

  1. Financial Penalties: Your sponsor license rating is directly linked to your finances. If your rating falls below the required standards, you will face financial penalties.

  2. Revocation of Your License: If your rating remains poor for an extended period of time, then your sponsor license may be revoked. This means that you will no longer be able to sponsor foreign workers and all existing sponsored workers must leave the UK immediately.

  3. Reputational Damage: Having a low sponsor license rating can damage your reputation as an employer. Potential employees may be put off from working for you due to your poor rating, which can negatively impact your ability to attract and retain talent.

  4. Difficulty Recruiting Overseas Workers: A poor Sponsor License Rating can make it more difficult for businesses to recruit overseas workers.This could leave you in a difficult situation if you need additional resources to meet demand or grow your business.

CGM is a corporate immigration application for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Feel free to contact us on 0300 000 000 or send us an email if you have any questions. 

What happens when a Licence is Downgraded

When a UK sponsor licence is downgraded, the sponsor’s ability to sponsor non-European Economic Area (EEA) and non-Swiss national workers for skilled worker and Temporary visas is reduced. This may include a reduction in the number of workers the sponsor is able to sponsor, a limitation on the types of roles that can be sponsored, or a decrease in the level of support provided by the UK government’s Home Office. The specific changes that occur will depend on the reasons for the downgrade and the terms of the sponsor licence agreement.

You will be issued a fee of £1,476 to get your licence back if it has been downgraded and, failure to comply will have your licence revoked. A compliance action plan identifies the steps you need to take to become compliant, which is usually limited to a maximum period of 3 months. You should be able to restore your licence to an A rating if you make the required changes within the deadline. If your business is not compliant and your sponsor licence has been downgraded to a B rating you have 3 months to meet all of your compliance requirements. Otherwise, it will be revoked on an expiry date specified by UKVI. 

It’s important to keep in mind that, although you have a B-rated licence, you will not be able to apply for Certificates of Sponsorship for new workers, although you will be able to apply for them for existing sponsored workers whose visas are expiring and need a Skilled Worker visa extension. You will also not be allowed to apply for a new licence or have branches added while you are on the B-rated scale.

On what Grounds can a Licence be Downgraded to a B-rating?

A UK sponsor licence can be downgraded to a B-rating by the UK Home Office for various reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Failure to comply with the sponsor licence obligations, such as not keeping accurate records of sponsored workers or not reporting changes in sponsorship circumstances.
  • Non-compliance with UK immigration laws, such as employing sponsored workers in roles that are different to those they were sponsored for, or employing them in a way that is detrimental to the resident labour market.
  • A high rate of illegal working among sponsored workers, which may indicate poor recruitment practices or poor management of sponsored workers.
  • A history of poor performance, such as a high rate of refused visa applications or a high rate of civil penalty fines for illegal working.

A B-rating indicates that the sponsor is not in compliance with the sponsor licence obligations and will be subject to more frequent inspections and monitoring. If the sponsor does not take steps to improve, the licence may be suspended or revoked.

The downgrading of your license to a B-rating signifies that UKVI compliance officers aren’t completely convinced that you can follow through with the required obligations, but have acknowledged that you have the means to fix any gaps in your HR practices. During the period during which you cannot hire new employees if you are downgraded to a B-rating, you must comply with a time-limited action plan. Your license will be revoked if you fail to comply with the action plan.

What happens when a Licence is Revoked?


When a license is revoked, the user’s access to the licensed product or service is terminated completely. This means that the user is no longer able to use the product or service, and any rights or privileges granted by the license agreement are no longer in effect. Additionally, the user may be required to return or destroy any copies of the licensed product or materials in their possession.

In the case of UK sponsor licence, a revocation of a sponsor licence means that the sponsor is no longer able to sponsor non-European Economic Area (EEA) and non-Swiss national workers for Skilled worker and Temporary visas. The sponsor will lose the right to sponsor any workers, any pending applications will be cancelled, and any sponsored workers will lose the right to work and must leave the UK. The sponsor will also be added to the list of disqualified sponsors and will not be able to apply for a sponsor licence for a certain period of time.

 If your sponsor organisation’s licence is downgraded to B-rating, your visa application is still valid and it does not affect your application in any way. However, if you are already in the UK on a visa that has been sponsored by a company with a B-rated licence and you want to change jobs, you will be restricted from doing so until your current sponsorship expires.

How do I ensure I don’t lose my Current Licence Rating?

To ensure you don’t lose your UK driver’s license rating, you should follow the rules of the road and drive safely at all times. Some specific things you can do to avoid losing your rating include:

  • Avoiding traffic violations such as speeding, running red lights, or reckless driving
  • Not driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Keeping your vehicle in good working condition and making sure it meets all necessary safety standards
  • Taking a driver improvement course if you receive a citation or have a history of traffic violations
  • Following the terms and conditions of your license, such as renewing it on time and reporting any changes to your personal information

It is also important to be aware of the penalty point system in the UK. If you accumulate 12 or more penalty points within a three-year period, you may be disqualified from driving for a certain period.

CGM is a corporate immigration application for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Feel free to contact us on 0300 000 000 or send us an email if you have any questions. 

How to Improve Sponsor Licence Rating

To improve their Sponsor License Rating, businesses must take several steps to ensure they comply with immigration rules and regulations. Here are some ways to improve a Sponsor License Rating:

  1. Compliance with Immigration Rules – Businesses must ensure they comply with all immigration rules and regulations.
  2. Internal Processes and Systems – Businesses should ensure that they have adequate systems and processes in place to manage their sponsorship obligations.
  3. Document Retention and Record-Keeping – Businesses should maintain accurate and up-to-date employee records, keep records of all sponsored workers’ absences, and retain all relevant documents for the required period.
  4. Training and Awareness – Businesses should provide training to employees involved in the recruitment process and ensure that they understand their roles and responsibilities.
  5. Monitoring and Review – Businesses should regularly monitor their Sponsor License Rating and take steps to address any issues that arise.

By taking these steps, businesses can improve their Sponsor License Rating and ensure that they can continue to recruit overseas workers in the UK.


In conclusion, the Sponsor License Rating is a critical component of the sponsorship process for businesses that wish to employ non-UK workers in the UK. It is a measure of a company’s ability to sponsor overseas workers, and it is used by the UK government’s Home Office to evaluate a business’s compliance with immigration rules.

A good Sponsor License Rating is essential for businesses that rely on skilled foreign workers to fill roles that cannot be filled by UK residents. It can make it easier for businesses to recruit overseas workers and reduce the level of scrutiny from the Home Office during the sponsorship process.

However, a poor Sponsor License Rating can have severe consequences, including increased scrutiny from the Home Office and potential suspension or revocation of a sponsor license. Therefore, businesses must take steps to ensure they comply with all immigration rules and regulations, have adequate systems and processes in place, maintain accurate records, provide training to employees, and regularly review and monitor their performance.

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