Key Strategies for Successful UK Sponsor Licence Compliance

UK Sponsor License Compliance

Sponsors have to fulfil the UK Sponsor Licence Compliance duties to avoid enforcement actions of the Home Office. Our Immigration Solicitors can help you with licence management, compliance visit preparation, and avoiding fines.

What is the UK Sponsor Licence Compliance 2024?

The UK immigration rules impose high expectations on sponsor licence holders to achieve their continuing compliance duties. For overburdened HR departments, sponsor licencing compliance is time-consuming and might fall behind demands that provide more strategic value to the company. However, there is a lot of room for error in this area of immigration compliance. The Home Office is being more aggressive in pursuing and punishing companies that violate the law.

Home Office compliance visits occur frequently. Failure to meet criteria can result in penalties. Moreover, non-compliance might lead to licensing downgrades. Ultimately, it could result in license suspensions or revocations.

As a result, reputational difficulties arise. Restricting or removing access to the global labour market can have severe effects on corporate operations. That’s why it should be avoided. Additionally, licence holders need to be aware that throughout the licence renewal process, the Home Office will carefully examine HR procedures and documentation to determine compliance throughout the license’s validity and if the business can continue to maintain compliance into the subsequent licencing period.

Why is UK Sponsor Licence Compliance important?

If your company fails to meet its sponsor licence obligations, it risks losing the ability to sponsor overseas workers who need a work visa to work officially in the UK. That implies you will have wasted all the effort you put into applying for your sponsor licence and will need to apply for a new licence from the Home Office once the cooling-off period after the licence revocation has passed.

A sponsor licence is essential from the viewpoint of your sponsored employees since it allows you to keep them employed. They can either depart from the UK or obtain employment with a different sponsoring company. From a company’s perspective, losing sponsored workers after investing time and resources in training and sponsoring them to perform specialised work makes no sense. If your business cannot get your sponsor licence restored after it has been suspended, you will need to try replacing the sponsored workers with British or settled workers.

Sponsor Licence Compliance can be complicated, but that’s because your company is the one the Home Office depends on to keep an eye on immigration control. To do this, you must fulfil your reporting and recording obligations and notify the Home Office of any potential problems with individual immigration compliance.

What are the Key Strategies for Successful UK Sponsor License Compliance? 

For companies intending to hire talented individuals from outside the UK and the European Economic Area (EEA), getting a UK Sponsor Licence is a vital first step. It is equally important to continue complying with the sponsorship requirements. The following are crucial Sponsor License Compliance tips:

Understanding Your Sponsorship Responsibilities: 

Learn about your duties as stated by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). This covers adhering to immigration regulations, filing reports, and maintaining records.

Record Keeping

One of the most frequent areas of immigration compliance risk for holders of sponsor licences is related to record-keeping, including verifying and holding onto particular documents for specified amounts of time in prescribed forms and having them available to UKVI upon request.

The paperwork that must be kept on file for each sponsored worker hired under Tier 2 (and Tier 5) is outlined in Part 1 of the Sponsor Licence Guidance Appendix D. They have to be made available to UKVI upon request and can be stored in print or electronic format. All documentation submitted as part of your request to become a licenced sponsor must be preserved for the course of the licence period. Retain all sponsored worker records for the shorter duration of one year after you stop sponsoring the migrant or one year after a compliance officer has reviewed and approved them if the migrant is no longer under your sponsorship.

Hiring Key Personnel: 

Within your company, designate Key Personnel who will oversee the sponsorship process, guarantee compliance with regulations, and serve as UKVI points of contact. In addition, licensed sponsors must designate individuals for the following positions:

  • Key Contact; 
  • Authorising Officer; 
  • Level 1 User

Rules regarding the appointment of external agents exist, and current employees, such as HR staff members, can fill these roles. The post holder should comprehend and meet the specific duties linked with these roles. Additionally, the sponsor licence application must list appointed persons, and their information must be updated on the SMS. 

At all times, there must be an Authorising Officer present together with a minimum of one Level 1 user.  Furthermore, UKVI can take enforcement action, including revoking the license, if the company fails to replace a key employee in their licensed role after they leave.

Keeping Accurate Records: 

Maintain thorough records of sponsored workers’ responsibilities, hours worked, and any modifications to their employment status. In accordance with UKVI requirements, keep records for the designated period.

Compliance Evaluations and Audits: 

To find any holes or areas that require improvement, conduct internal audits and reviews of your sponsorship procedures and documentation on a regular basis. This assists in being proactive and compliant.

Monitoring Responsibilities:

Your company needs to establish HR processes and procedures to monitor all PBS employees. Moreover, this includes tracking attendance, documenting it, and ensuring adherence to visa terms and conditions.

Awareness & Training: 

Ensure thorough training for relevant employees involved in the sponsorship process. Make sure they understand the rules regarding immigration, the need for compliance, and the reporting requirements.

Compliance with Reporting Requirements: 

Fulfil reporting duties, which include informing UKVI of any modifications to the sponsored worker’s circumstances, including job position changes, pay changes, terminations, or infractions of immigration laws.

Working closely with the Home Office 

Fulfill all Home Office requests for documents or site inspections promptly. Ensure complete compliance with their requirements without delay. Moreover, this includes conducting business with the Home Office honestly and transparently in every deal.

The Right to Work

Sponsor licence holders are subject to the same anti-illegal working legislation as any UK business. To prevent civil fines for working illegally, it is important to regularly verify the right to work for all potential and current employees. Employees should conduct proper immigration status checks, and your documentation should reflect this. It should also demonstrate the ongoing nature of these checks. UKVI will take this into account when assessing whether your company complies with its record-keeping responsibilities. Moreover, it is advisable to verify an employee’s immigration status prior to starting work. Notably, all workers are subject to this obligation, including British and EEA nationals.

After that, every 12 months from the date of hire, it is necessary to verify the status of non-EEA employees who have a temporary work permit.

Seek Professional Assistance if Needed

UK Immigration solicitors can assist your company with sponsor licence administration and compliance in every aspect of it.  As a group of immigration solicitors and former employees of the Home Office, we can assist your internal HR department or handle the compliance requirements on your behalf for all sponsorship licence types. Our licence compliance package is made to offer help that is especially suited to your company’s requirements. 

  • We specialize in supporting smaller businesses lacking internal HR resources.
  • Our expertise extends to aiding international employers as well as organizations in the UK.
  • Moreover, we assist in meeting duties through practical compliance solutions.
  • Our focus is on providing profitable strategies for compliance.

Furthermore, our specialization extends to complex areas such as mergers and branch openings. These organizational changes significantly impact your license and compliance responsibilities.