Obtaining priority treatment for sponsor licence applications has become easier

Ed Wanambwa (1)
Ed Wanambwa
2 min Read

A common cause of frustration for businesses that want to obtain a sponsor licence from the Home Office, so they can sponsor migrant workers for visas to work in the UK, is the potentially long delay when it comes to the Home Office processing their applications.

For many years:

  • the Home Office’s standard processing time for sponsor licence applications has been up to up to eight weeks, subject to factors such as whether the Home Office needs additional information or wishes to visit the business prior to reaching a decision on the application; and
  • businesses have been able to pay £500 to the Home Office to reduce that standard processing time to 10 working days. However, for a long time there were only 10 priority slots available per working day for the whole of the UK, supposedly (in principle at least) allocated on a first-come, first-served basis for those who send the required documentation to the relevant Home Office department from 9am on working days.

Thankfully, the Home Office recently tripled the number of priority slots that are available on working days from 10 to 30. This is very welcome news and should increase the success rate of some businesses when they apply for their sponsor licence applications to be prioritised.

However, sometimes the Home Office does not grant priority treatment even when priority requests are sent at exactly 9am on working days. This could be because the sponsor licence applications to which the priority requests relate are more complicated in nature, leading to these applications being placed on the much slower eight week processing track. 

Our immigration team has significant experience of helping businesses to apply for priority slots, of positioning their sponsor licence applications in a way that reduces the chances of being placed on the eight week processing track and, if that happens, making representations to the Home Office to try to unblock the delay.

We specialise in advising international and national businesses from a wide range of sectors on applying for sponsor licences and (once granted) on subsequent visa applications and also advise on UK business immigration law more generally.  

Please contact our immigration team if you have any questions about this or any other immigration matters.

Briefings Business immigration business immigration sponsor licences Russell-Cooke Home Office visas