Unexpected but good news overnight – automatic extensions to sponsor licences! 

January, 2024 - Shoosmiths LLP

If you have checked your licences overnight you may have seen the unexpected news from UK Visas and Immigration.

They have published a notification on the landing page of the Sponsor Management System (on 24 January 2024) informing sponsors that they are removing the requirement to renew a sponsor licence. This impacts sponsors whose licence was due to expire on or after 6 April 2024. Those whose licence expires before this date will need to renew as usual.

The update explains that a renewal fee will no longer be payable either. 

In preparation for this change, the licence expiry date for all licences that were due to expire on or after 6 April 2024 has now been extended by 10 years. 

This is an interesting if unexpected change. It is helpful in that renewing the licence is one less administrative task that sponsors have to undertake and one less deadline to be mindful of. Of course, there is also the financial saving to sponsors as well in not having to pay another licence fee every four years. 

However, it does raise the question of whether this will mean an increase in compliance visits. The licence renewal stage provided a natural point at which a sponsor licence could be reviewed by UKVI prior to approval. Without this guaranteed four-yearly review, UKVI will no doubt need to find an alternative way to monitor sponsor compliance. It also remains to be seen whether the licence fee will increase to make up for the financial shortfall caused by the loss of licence renewal fees. 

This change comes amidst a raft of immigration changes to take place in 2024 which we summarised in our earlier article Looking forward - what to expect in 2024 for immigration. It is shaping up to be another busy year in immigration. Our immigration specialists are on hand to provide support to employers trying to navigate the complex system in this time of change.


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