Sponsor Management System: User Guide

Are you a sponsor licence holder in the UK immigration system? Do you want to effectively manage your sponsorship activities and ensure compliance with immigration rules? Look no further than the Sponsor Management System (SMS).

SMS is an online tool provided by the Home Office, designed to assist sponsor licence holders in navigating the complexities of UK immigration. But how exactly can you make the most of this system? And what are the key features that will help you stay compliant?

In this user guide, we will provide comprehensive guidance on using the Sponsor Management System to manage various aspects of your sponsorship licence. From managing users and allocating certificates of sponsorship to renewing your licence, we’ve got you covered.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover how the Sponsor Management System can help you manage your sponsorship activities efficiently.
  • Learn how to navigate the SMS and perform essential tasks such as managing users and assigning certificates of sponsorship.
  • Understand the importance of compliance with UK immigration rules and how the SMS can assist you in meeting your responsibilities.
  • Gain insights into the specific functions and roles within the SMS, tailored to different sponsorship routes.
  • Find out why using the SMS is crucial for effective licence management and compliance with regulatory requirements.

Introduction to the Sponsor Management System

The SMS guide provides an introduction to the Sponsor Management System (SMS), a valuable online tool provided by the Home Office for sponsor licence holders. This guide aims to help you navigate the SMS effectively, starting from the first-time login process to managing SMS users. It offers step-by-step instructions, highlighting the importance of the SMS in meeting your compliance responsibilities.

Logging onto the SMS for the First Time

When accessing the SMS for the first time, it’s important to follow the correct login procedures. Firstly, you’ll receive your SMS login ID through postal mail as the authorising officer. Secondly, the nominated level 1 user will receive their password via email. This level 1 user is responsible for logging in for the first time and requesting additional level 1 users or creating level 2 users. Each user has their own user ID and password for added security.

Managing Users in the SMS

The SMS allows level 1 users to manage other level 1 and level 2 users efficiently. As a level 1 user, you have the authority to request additional level 1 users, add or remove level 2 users, and change user details. This streamlined user management system ensures that you can grant appropriate access to the right individuals based on their roles and responsibilities.

Using the SMS for Sponsorship Activities

The Sponsor Management System offers a range of functions to assist you with your sponsorship activities. These include assigning Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) or Certificates of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), requesting allocation increases, tracking licence renewal applications, reporting activities of sponsored workers, and paying for and monitoring progress on your action plans. Both level 1 and level 2 users have specific functions assigned to them within the SMS.

Benefits and Importance of SMS for Sponsors

The SMS is a vital tool for effective sponsor licence management. By using the SMS, you can ensure compliance with UK immigration rules and regulations while efficiently managing your licence. The system provides up-to-date information about your business, sponsored employees, and any messages posted by the Home Office. With the SMS, you can communicate smoothly with the Home Office, fulfil your compliance duties, and keep your licence in good standing.

Now that you have an introduction to the Sponsor Management System and its key features, it’s time to dive deeper into managing your sponsorship licence with the SMS. Section 3 will provide detailed guidance on updating licence details, replacing key contacts, renewing annual allocations, and more.

Managing Your Sponsorship Licence with the SMS

The SMS guide for managing your sponsorship licence provides step-by-step instructions on using the system to manage and maintain your sponsorship licence. With the SMS, you have the ability to streamline your administrative tasks and ensure compliance with UK immigration rules. Here’s a breakdown of the key features and functions:

Replacing Authorising Officers or Key Contacts

Within the SMS, you can easily replace authorising officers or key contacts if there are any changes or updates to your team. Simply follow the guided process to remove or add new individuals, ensuring that your licence details are always up to date.

Updating Licence Details

Keeping your licence details accurate is crucial for compliance. The SMS allows you to make necessary changes to your licence information, such as updating your business name, address, or contact details. By regularly reviewing and updating these details, you can maintain a valid and active sponsorship licence.

Requesting Changes

If you need to make specific changes to your sponsorship licence, the SMS provides a straightforward process for submitting those requests. Whether it’s updating the occupations you can sponsor or requesting changes to the structure of your licence, the system guides you through the necessary steps.

Viewing the Licence Summary

The licence summary provides an overview of your sponsorship licence, including key information such as your licence rating, licence start and expiry dates, and any restrictions or suspensions. This summary gives you a clear understanding of the status of your licence, allowing you to proactively address any compliance concerns.

Requesting CoS/CAS Allocations

If you require Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) or Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), the SMS enables you to easily request and manage these allocations. This feature makes it convenient for you to sponsor skilled workers or students and ensure that you have the necessary documentation in place.

Renewing Annual Allocations

To continue sponsoring workers or students, you need to renew your annual allocations. The SMS provides a streamlined process for renewing these allocations, ensuring that you can maintain a consistent workforce or student body without interruption.

Withdrawing Previous Requests

If you no longer require a CoS or CAS allocation that you have requested, the SMS allows you to withdraw those requests. By promptly withdrawing unnecessary requests, you can manage your allocations effectively and maintain accurate records within the system.

By utilising the SMS to manage your sponsorship licence, you can streamline administrative processes, ensure compliance, and maintain accurate records. The system’s user-friendly interface and step-by-step guidance make it easy to navigate and utilise the various functions offered. Stay in control of your sponsorship activities and harness the full potential of the SMS to manage your sponsorship licence effectively.

Duties and Responsibilities of Licensed Sponsors

As a licensed sponsor, it is crucial for you to understand and fulfil your duties and responsibilities in order to maintain compliance with UK immigration rules and prevent illegal working. These duties encompass various aspects, including monitoring and reporting activities of sponsored workers, as well as assigning certificates of sponsorship to sponsored visa workers.

One of the key duties of a licensed sponsor is to prevent illegal working by ensuring that sponsored workers have the right to work in the UK. This involves conducting right to work checks in accordance with the Home Office guidance and keeping records of these checks as part of your compliance duties. By doing so, you contribute to maintaining the integrity of the UK immigration system and safeguarding the rights of workers.

In addition to preventing illegal working, licensed sponsors are also responsible for monitoring and reporting the activities of sponsored workers. This includes keeping track of their attendance, compliance with the conditions of their visa, and any changes in their circumstances that may impact their immigration status. If any discrepancies or concerns arise, it is important to report them to the Home Office using the appropriate channels.

Furthermore, licensed sponsors play a critical role in the UK’s immigration system by assigning certificates of sponsorship (CoS) to sponsored visa workers. CoS are an essential component of the sponsorship process and are required for individuals to apply for a visa under various immigration routes. As a licensed sponsor, you must ensure that CoS are assigned correctly and in line with the specific requirements and restrictions set by the Home Office.

The Importance of the Sponsor Management System (SMS)

The Sponsor Management System (SMS) is a vital tool that supports licensed sponsors in fulfilling their duties and responsibilities. It provides a user-friendly platform for managing sponsorship activities and maintaining compliance with UK immigration rules.

The SMS allows licensed sponsors to easily assign certificates of sponsorship, track the status of applications, and maintain up-to-date records of sponsored workers. It also provides valuable resources and guidance to help sponsors navigate the complexities of the immigration system.

By utilising the SMS effectively, licensed sponsors can streamline their compliance processes, reduce administrative burden, and ensure adherence to the required standards. The SMS serves as a centralised hub for managing your sponsorship activities, enabling you to perform tasks efficiently and maintain accurate records.

Overall, understanding and fulfilling your duties as a licensed sponsor is essential for maintaining compliance with UK immigration rules. By preventing illegal working and effectively managing the sponsorship process through the SMS, you contribute to a fair and secure immigration system while supporting the needs of your sponsored workers.

Duties and ResponsibilitiesDescription
Prevent illegal workingConduct right to work checks and maintain records
Monitor and report activitiesTrack sponsored workers’ compliance and report any discrepancies
Assign certificates of sponsorshipEnsure correct assignment in accordance with Home Office requirements

Who Can Use the Sponsor Management System?

The sponsor management system is available for employers who sponsor workers under different routes. These routes include skilled workers, global business mobility, and religious workers. The system caters to a variety of key personnel roles, each with specific responsibilities and access levels.

Key Personnel Roles

  • Authorising Officer: The authorising officer is responsible for managing and overseeing the sponsor’s activities in the Sponsor Management System.
  • Key Contact: The key contact serves as the main point of contact between the sponsor and the Home Office. They play a vital role in communication and coordination.
  • Level 1 User: Level 1 users have higher access levels and can perform various functions within the system, such as assigning certificates of sponsorship and managing users.
  • Level 2 User: Level 2 users have limited access levels and perform specific tasks within the system as assigned by the higher-level users. Their access is restricted to ensure data integrity and security.

These key personnel roles are crucial for the effective management of the sponsor’s activities and compliance with UK immigration rules.

Managing Users in the SMS

Within the Sponsor Management System (SMS), level 1 users have the authority to efficiently manage both level 1 and level 2 users, ensuring a seamless user experience and effective permissions management. As a level 1 user, you have the ability to:

Manage Level 1 and Level 2 Users

  • Request additional level 1 users to support your sponsorship activities
  • Add or remove level 2 users based on the needs of your organisation
  • Change user details to reflect any updates or changes in personnel

Level 1 users possess comprehensive permissions, granting them access to all applicable functions within the SMS. On the other hand, level 2 users have specific permissions that are determined by their assigned roles, ensuring appropriate access and security. Efficient management of users and their permissions is essential for maintaining compliance and safeguarding the integrity of your sponsorship activities.

Using the SMS for Sponsorship Activities

The sponsor management system (SMS) provides a comprehensive platform for users to perform various sponsorship activities online. Whether you are a level 1 user or a level 2 user, the SMS offers specific functions to help you effectively manage your sponsor licence and ensure compliance with UK immigration rules.

Assigning Certificates of Sponsorship

One of the key functions of the SMS is the ability to assign certificates of sponsorship (CoS) to sponsored workers. This process involves allocating a CoS to a specific individual, granting them the opportunity to apply for a visa to work in the UK. The SMS guides you through this allocation process, ensuring that you adhere to the necessary requirements and maintain accurate records.

Requesting Allocation Increases

If your organisation requires additional CoS for sponsored workers, the SMS allows you to request allocation increases. This feature is particularly useful when your existing allocation is nearing its limit, ensuring that you can continue hiring and retaining skilled workers. By navigating through the system, you can easily submit your request and receive confirmation once the allocation increase is approved.

Tracking Licence Renewal

Renewing your sponsor licence is a crucial task to maintain your ability to sponsor workers. The SMS enables you to track the progress of your licence renewal application, ensuring that you are aware of any updates or additional requirements. This feature helps you stay organised and plan ahead, minimising any potential disruptions to your recruitment process.

Reporting Activities of Sponsored Workers

As a sponsor licence holder, it is essential to fulfil your reporting obligations regarding the activities of your sponsored workers. The SMS allows you to report any changes or updates related to your sponsored workforce, ensuring that the Home Office has accurate and up-to-date information. This feature streamlines the reporting process, making it convenient and efficient for you to comply with your responsibilities.

Paying for and Monitoring Progress of Action Plans

In the event of compliance breaches or issues identified by the Home Office, you may be required to implement action plans to rectify any shortcomings. The SMS facilitates the payment process for these action plans and allows you to track the progress of their implementation. By utilising this feature, you can ensure that you are meeting the necessary requirements and taking the appropriate steps to address any compliance concerns.

Compliance with Sponsorship Duties

Sponsor licence holders have significant compliance responsibilities to ensure adherence to UK immigration rules. Failure to fulfil these duties may lead to various repercussions imposed by the Home Office, such as the downgrading of the sponsor licence rating, suspension, or even revocation.

Duties and Responsibilities

As a sponsor licence holder, it is your responsibility to ensure that you comply with the obligations outlined by the Home Office. These duties typically include:

  • Monitoring and reporting the activities of sponsored workers
  • Preventing illegal working within your organisation
  • Assigning certificates of sponsorship to sponsored visa workers

Possible Consequences

In the event of non-compliance, the Home Office has the authority to take necessary actions, depending on the severity and nature of the violations. These actions may include:

  • Downgrading your sponsor licence rating
  • Suspending your sponsor licence temporarily
  • Revoking your sponsor licence entirely

In cases where significant or systematic breaches of sponsorship duties are discovered, there may also be civil penalties imposed on the organisation. In extreme circumstances, criminal prosecution may occur if illegal working is found within a sponsored workforce.

Downgrading Sponsor Licence RatingThe sponsor licence rating may be lowered, impacting the organisation’s ability to continue sponsoring workers.
Suspension of Sponsor LicenceThe sponsor licence may be temporarily suspended, halting any new sponsorship activities during the suspension period.
Revocation of Sponsor LicenceThe sponsor licence may be completely revoked, resulting in the loss of sponsorship privileges and the need to reapply for a new licence.
Civil PenaltiesIn cases of significant non-compliance, civil penalties may be imposed as fines on the organisation.
Criminal ProsecutionIn situations involving illegal working, the organisation may face criminal prosecution, leading to potential fines or imprisonment.

Benefits and Importance of SMS for Sponsors

The sponsor management system (SMS) offers numerous benefits to sponsors, aiding them in fulfilling their compliance duties and effectively managing their licences. With its user-friendly interface and efficient tools, the SMS streamlines the process, ensuring that sponsors can navigate their compliance responsibilities with ease.

Licence Management

The SMS simplifies the task of licence management, allowing sponsors to oversee and update their licence details promptly. From managing key personnel to requesting changes, the system ensures that sponsors can stay up-to-date and compliant by providing a centralised platform for licence-related actions.

Up-to-date Information

Having accurate and up-to-date information is crucial for compliance with immigration regulations. The SMS efficiently processes and stores information about the sponsor’s business and sponsored employees, enabling the Home Office to have real-time visibility. This facilitates effective communication and compliance monitoring, eliminating the need for manual reporting and ensuring that sponsors are always providing the necessary information.

With its comprehensive features and intuitive interface, the SMS empowers sponsors to fulfil their compliance duties efficiently and effectively. By utilising this powerful tool, sponsors can navigate the complex landscape of UK immigration rules, ensuring compliance while streamlining their processes.

How Boardroom Advisors Can Help You

Navigating the complexities of the UK Sponsor Management System and ensuring compliance can be a daunting task. Boardroom Advisors offers invaluable support in this area, connecting you with seasoned immigration experts who can guide you through every step of managing your sponsorship licence. Whether it’s mastering the SMS, understanding compliance requirements, or streamlining your application process, our advisors ensure a smooth and successful journey, simplifying what can otherwise be an overwhelming process.


How can I log in to the Sponsor Management System for the first time?

To log in for the first time, you will need the SMS login ID and password. The login ID will be sent to the authorising officer by post, while the password will be emailed to the nominated level 1 user. Once you have the login ID and password, you can log in to the SMS using the instructions provided.

What functions can level 1 users perform in the Sponsor Management System?

Level 1 users have access to all applicable functions in the SMS. They can manage other level 1 and level 2 users, request additional level 1 users, add or remove level 2 users, and change user details as required.

How can I assign certificates of sponsorship to sponsored visa workers using SMS?

To assign certificates of sponsorship, you can use the Sponsor Management System. Log in to the system and navigate to the relevant section where you can specify the details of the sponsored worker and assign the certificate of sponsorship to them.

What happens if I fail to comply with my sponsorship duties as a licensed sponsor?

Failure to comply with sponsorship duties may result in actions being taken by the Home Office. These actions could include downgrading your sponsor licence rating, suspension, or even revocation of your licence. In cases of significant or systemic failings, there may also be civil penalties or criminal prosecution if illegal working is found.

Can I use the Sponsor Management System to track the progress of my licence renewal application?

Yes, you can use the SMS to track the progress of your licence renewal application. The system provides updates on the status of your application, allowing you to stay informed throughout the process.

Who can use the Sponsor Management System?

The Sponsor Management System can be used by employers holding a sponsor licence to sponsor workers under various routes, including skilled worker, global business mobility, and religious worker. Key personnel roles, such as the authorising officer, key contact, level 1 user, and level 2 user, have specific responsibilities and access levels within the system.

How can I change my licence details using SMS?

To change your licence details, log in to the Sponsor Management System and navigate to the relevant section where you can update the required information. Make sure to review and submit the changes accurately to ensure the record is updated correctly.

Written by: John Courtney

John is highly ranked in the Top 100 UK Entrepreneurs list by City AM and is winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from techSPARK. He has been a Board Director himself for over 40 years and first started placing Non-Executive Directors over 25 years ago. John founded and ran seven of his own businesses including a Management Consultancy for 10 years, a Corporate Finance offering for 10 years and a mid-sized Digital Agency for another 10 years.