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Sponsorship Audit and Compliance Duties
The Sponsorship Audit and Compliance process is something you will need to familiarise yourself with upon successfully obtaining a Sponsorship Licence. As a Sponsorship Licence holder, you have certain duties and responsibilities that you must carry out as set out by the UKVI in the Skilled Worker visa policy guidance.
Auditing and complying under your Sponsorship Licence is essential as UKVI scrutinises Sponsorship Licence holders rigorously. Even a slight human error can have drastic consequences for the business and on their ability to employ foreign workers.
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Sponsor Duties under the Sponsorship Licence
Sponsors who wish to employ foreign workers must comply with the relevant immigration rules and the Sponsorship Licence policy guidance. It is imperative to ensure that you have the necessary systems in place prior to an audit, as the UKVI sometimes visit client premises unannounced.
Sponsor duties consist of the following:
- Record keeping – the sponsor must keep relevant documents and records of the Sponsor Licence as outlined in Appendix D available for request by the Home Office. Failure to do this could lead to a Sponsorship Licence being suspended or even revoked.
- Reporting – sponsors must report any changes in the employee’s circumstances within 10 days. This includes issues such as any absence, termination, or any breach of their own obligations as a Sponsorship Licence holder. Sponsors must also report any significant changes in their own circumstances within 20 working days.
- Compliance – sponsors must comply with sponsor duties, which include the following:
- The sponsor is genuinely trading in the UK and has the correct documents on file for the foreign workers
- Sponsors must only employ migrants who are qualified and experienced to do the job and are legally entitled to do so
- The sponsor should only assign Certificates of Sponsorship under the Sponsorship Licence to foreign workers who meet the criteria set out in the immigration rules and relevant policy guidance
- Sponsors must keep the Home Office updated via the SMS portal of any relevant changes relating to their organisation.
Non-Compliance, Revocation or Suspension of the Sponsorship Licence
If the Home Office has reason to believe that the sponsor is breaching their duties or poses a threat to immigration control, then it may suspend the sponsor’s licence while it makes further enquiries. If the Home Office then decides to revoke the sponsor’s licence, it will write to the sponsor to inform them of this.
The instances in which a Sponsorship Licence may be revoked are:
- If after a licence has been granted it is found that the employer knowingly gave false information on their sponsor licence application, or in support of their sponsor licence application, and had it given the correct information, the UKVI would have refused their application.
- Failure to demonstrate that there is a genuine vacancy. In some instances, the alleged breach may centre on the lack of existence of a genuine vacancy. This is usually when the Home Office suspects that the foreign is working in a job different to that stated in the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). Sponsorship Licence holders must ensure that employees are performing the job role in question as stated in the CoS and be able to provide documentary evidence to confirm this.
- Failure to retain specified information in the format required by the UKVI.
- Failure to provide a document listed in Appendix D of the sponsor guidance. These documents demonstrate understanding, adherence and implementation of their obligations as a sponsor. Failure to do so will result in a breach of the duty to adequately monitor and record foreign worker activity.
How can NA Law Solicitors Assist Sponsors with Sponsorship Audit and Compliance Duties?
NA Law is a niche immigration law firm that specialises in this area of law. Our team of specialist immigration solicitors can assist you with the entire process and provide you with high quality services that will allow you to fully focus on your business.
- We will take instructions from you during your initial consultation and advise you on the appropriate and relevant documents to gather in support of your application.
- We will ensure the documents provided to UKVI are in the required format and we will draft detailed, extensive legal representations in support of your application.
- Finally, we will liaise with the Home Office until a final decision is made on your application.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
You need a sponsorship licence if you plan on hiring employees from outside the EEA.
To meet the requirements, you must:
- be a genuine business or sole-trader which is legally operating in the UK.
- be able to demonstrate a genuine need for migrant workers.
- have no unspent criminal convictions for immigration offences, money laundering, or fraud.
- not pose any kind of threat to the UK via your company or any of its personnel.
- not have a history of failing to carry out sponsorship duties.
- have organised HR systems and records.
The Home Office fee depends on the type of business you have. For small businesses and charities the Tier 2 sponsorship fee is £536. For medium and large businesses the Tier 2 sponsorship fee is £1476. You are a small business if you have an annual turnover of £10.2 million and less than 50 employees.
Some of the most common reasons for Tier 2 sponsor visa rejection are:
- Non-compliance with the Home Office security standards
- Failing the genuineness test
- Failing to retain documentation on sponsored migrant workers
The Home Office will award you with a license rating. Your business will be placed on the UK Sponsorship Licence register. You will be able to issue Certificates of Sponsorship. Your license will be valid for 4 years.
Applying for a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence is a lengthy and complex process. NA Law Solicitors can assist with your business immigration needs by managing the entire Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence application process. We can help you adhere to your duties as a Tier 2 sponsor and steer you towards a successful outcome. Subsequently, NA Law can assist with the following:
- Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence applications
- Audit existing HR and record keeping systems
- Acting as a key contact and/or level 1 user for your Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence
- Advising on Right to Work checks as set out by the Home Office guidance
- Applying for a restricted or unrestricted CoS and assigning it to the relevant workers
- Advising on how to deal with closure notices and civil penalty notices
- Assisting multi-nationals to bring their overseas staff to the UK via the Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer visa route
- Advising on Brexit-related issues faced by EEA national workers
- Advising on all other corporate immigration matters
During the sponsor licence application, the Home Office may come to conduct a compliance visit at the company premises. Our specialist team at NA Law Solicitors can conduct a mock audit for you. This will decrease the chance of an unsuccessful sponsor licence. Contact us for further information, advice or guidance.
Most applications are dealt with within 4 weeks. UKVI will contact the applicant once a decision is made.
Prior to making a decision on a Student sponsorship licence application or as a means to ensure a sponsor is adhering to its Student sponsor duties, UKVI may make an unannounced visit to inspect the sponsor’s HR policies and confirm they have sufficient measures in place to fulfil their obligations.