Personal Immigration
Business Immigration

Key Personnel in Sponsor Licence Applications

In our previous post, How To Apply For A Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence, we set out the criteria to be met when applying for a licence to sponsor a skilled worker. One of the steps in a Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence Application is to appoint certain individuals in the organisation to carry out the roles. The key personnel roles are Authorising Officer, Key Contact and Level 1 user. The organisation can also appoint a Level 2 user when the sponsor licence has been granted. We will discuss the key personnel further in this post and who will be able to access the online portal, Sponsorship Management System (SMS) to manage the sponsor licence.

Authorising Officer

This role must be filled by the most senior person in your organisation who is involved in recruitment and is responsible for the activities of all SMS users. This person must be aware of the sponsor licence duties and ensure that the duties are met, such as having a system in place where checks can be carried out. 

You must have an Authorising Officer in place throughout the life of your licence. Unlike the Level 1 user or Level 2 user, they do not have automatic access to the SMS. They can be named as the Level 1 user and Authorising Officer in the sponsor licence application form or be set up as a Level 1 user or Level 2 user after the sponsor licence has been granted.

Key Contact

The Key Contact is the main point of contact with the Home Office for any queries.  The Key Contact also does not have automatic access to the SMS. They can be added as a Level 1 or Level 2 user, either by adding them as the Level 1 user when completing the application form or adding them after the licence has been granted.

If there are any concerns in the sponsor licence application, this may trigger a Home Office compliance visit as discussed in our post, Sponsor Licence audits and Compliance Visits Resume. The Home Office may also conduct an immigration audit at random. To discuss preparing for a Home Office immigration audit, contact our Sponsor Licence barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.

Level 1 User

This person is responsible for day-to-day management of the licence by carrying out activities through the SMS. You must have at least one Level 1 user in place to access the SMS. Your licence may be revoked if this condition is not met. 

Level 1 users can undertake various activities including:

  • Assigning CoS or reporting migrant activity
  • Requesting an increase in the number of CoS
  • Reporting change of circumstances or any work address changes
  • Viewing information about the licence and key personnel
  • Applying to renew the licence

In your initial application, you must nominate one Level 1 user who is an employee, a partner or a director. Once your sponsor licence application is approved, you can add more Level 1 users, such as a UK-based representative.  

Level 2 User

The organisation can appoint a Level 2 user, however, they have a more restricted range of functions. They can create and assign CoS to migrants and report migrant activity. 

Key Personnel Eligibility Criteria

When nominating the key personnel in your organisation, there are a number of requirements to be met. For the period that they fill the role, they must be based in the UK. Do take note if any of them have any unspent criminal convictions or any adverse involvement with the Home Office. Unless the exceptions apply, they must be a paid member of staff or an office holder. One of the exceptions is when an additional Level 1 or Level 2 user is an employee of another organisation who carries out some or all of your HR function. You must still have an employee who is a Level 1 user of your organisation.

Other Factors to Consider

None of your key personnel can be:

  • A representative who is not based in the UK
  • A contractor or consultant who is contracted for a specific project
  • Subject to a Bankruptcy Restrictions Order or Bankruptcy Restrictions Undertaking
  • Subject to a Debt Relief Restrictions Order or Debt Relief Restrictions Undertaking
  • Legally prohibited from being a company director

SMS users must not assign a CoS to themselves or to a close relative or partner, such as a spouse, daughter or brother-in-law.

When applying for a licence, you must give contact details for your key personnel and also any changes to the key personnel after the licence has been granted. All email addresses you provide for each of your key personnel must be secure and personal to and only accessible by the named individual.

Contact our Business Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance with a Sponsor Licence application contact our business immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below. 


To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.

    Attach a file if it supports your enquiry. Only .doc or .pdf files.


    Expert advice & representation from immigration barristers that you can rely on.

    Google+ - Five Stars

    Read the 600+ five out of five star Google reviews of our immigration barristers.