A UK Sponsor Licence is a major accomplishment for any company seeking qualified overseas talent. But getting the license isn’t the end of the journey. Compliance requires attention to detail and a full understanding of regulations. This blog discusses the ongoing obligations, reporting requirements, and audits of a UK Sponsor Licence and the necessity of maintaining compliance with a UK Sponsor License.
What is Sponsor License Compliance?
Sponsor Licence Compliance is an organization’s commitment to meet the legal and regulatory requirements of a Sponsor Licence in the UK’s immigration system. A Sponsor Licence allows an organisation to sponsor talented international workers for specified employment in the UK.
Sponsor licenses are usually valid for four years after approval. Maintaining your sponsor license is next. The Home Office will continue monitoring your sponsorship duties, including checking with HMRC to ensure that you pay properly to your sponsored workers. For accurate record-keeping, the Home Office may undertake a compliance check.
If you ignore your sponsor duties, an investigation could suspend your licence.
Sponsor Licence Compliance Duties & Requirements
Any UK employer with a sponsor license must follow certain rules to avoid violating immigration regulations. The Home Office’s tasks include monitoring, record-keeping, and reporting to maintain immigration system integrity.
These duties are essential to sponsor licence maintenance. Failure to comply with these responsibilities can result in serious penalties, such as downgrading, suspension, or even revocation of your sponsor license. Besides affecting your capacity to hire foreign workers, losing this right may force persons sponsored under your licence to leave.
Note that these duties apply to long-term and short-term temporary labour visa sponsors. Detailed legal counsel on requirements and compliance procedures is essential, and our UK Immigration Solicitors can help. Strict compliance with these duties is legal. Moreover, it is essential to maintain a positive and compliant UK immigration framework.
Fast reporting is a must for sponsor license compliance. To report different occurrences within certain timeframes, the Sponsor Management System (“SMS”) is used. Sponsored workers must inform the Home Office within 10 working days of any of the following: failure to initiate employment, absence without permission exceeding 10 days, or premature termination of employment.
Any event that causes a change in the company’s name, sale, merger, insolvency, or substantial change in business nature requires additional reports to be submitted within 20 working days. Licence holders can find a thorough guide, including a detailed list of reporting requirements, on the Home Office website.
For those with a sponsor license, keeping accurate records is crucial to follow immigration rules. This involves holding and storing specific documents in a certain way, making them available to the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) if requested.
According to Part 1 of the Sponsor Licence Guidance Appendix D, there’s a list of documents that must be kept for each sponsored worker under Tier 2 (and Tier 5). These documents can be in paper or electronic form. Moreover, these should be ready for inspection by the UKVI upon request.
Keep every document submitted when applying for a sponsor license throughout the entire license duration. For documents related to sponsored workers, they should be kept for shorter either one year from the date sponsorship ends or until a compliance officer has reviewed and approved them, especially if the worker is no longer sponsored. This process ensures that sponsor license holders maintain all necessary records, meeting the compliance standards required.
Sponsors with valid licenses are required to hire for specific positions:
Current employees, like those on the HR team, can fill the positions, and the procedures for hiring outside consultants are the same as those for internal ones. Every one of these positions has unique duties that the person holding it must be familiar with and follow to the letter.
The application for a sponsor license must identify appointed personnel. Furthermore, organizations must maintain their information on the SMS. The Authorising Officer, as well as at least one Level 1 user, must always be present. If a key employee quits and is not replaced in their licensed job, UKVI can take updating the license as one of the enforcement actions.
Collaborate with the Home Office
The Home Office requires prompt and complete compliance with any demands for documents or access to inspect the site. This includes being honest as well as straightforward with the Home Office at all times.
Right to Work
Sponsor license holders must still adhere to the same rules about working illegally as all other companies in the UK. In order to prevent civil penalties for unlawful employment, it is important to conduct right to work checks on all current and potential employees on a regular basis. You need to keep records that show you’ve checked and verified an employee’s immigration status. When deciding whether or not your company is in compliance with its record-keeping requirements, UKVI will evaluate this.
It is important to verify an employee’s immigration status prior to hiring them. Notably, this obligation applies to all workers, not only those based in the UK or the EEA. After that, every twelve months from the date of hire, non-EEA employees with limited work permission shall have their right to work status verified.
Making Sure You Follow All UK Immigration and Other Laws
As a sponsor license holder, you must adhere to all UK rules, not just those pertaining to immigration. It is of the utmost importance to verify that sponsored workers have the necessary credentials, certifications, or work experience for their positions. It is the responsibility of the employers to ensure that sponsored workers comply with the terms of their stay and to avoid issuing Certificates of Sponsorship (“CoS”) for positions that do not exist.
In addition to immigration regulations, it is critical to follow UK employment rules including health and safety, minimum wage, working hours, and vacations. Having the appropriate authorizations to conduct business at the trading address is of equal importance.
Consequences of Failing to Compliance with a UK Sponsor License
The Home Office checks for sponsor licensing compliance on a regular basis. License downgrade, suspension, or revocation may result from noncompliance. To rectify a B-rating drop, one can take action, but suspension requires a comprehensive investigation. Moreover, authorities grant revocation only for major violations, and the individual must wait 12 months before reapplying for sponsorship.
Understanding and carrying out the sponsor’s duties is very important for keeping a UK Sponsorship Licence. Our top UK immigration solicitors can advise you on how to stay in compliance and provide experienced guidance throughout the licensing process, so you can rest assured that you will be well-prepared. Moreover, our committed legal support will help you succeed as a sponsor and confidently navigate the intricacies of immigration law.
Do you require help with compliance? Let us assist you
If your company needs help with managing or ensuring compliance with sponsor licensing requirements, our UK immigration solicitors can help. Our team of immigration lawyers can assist your existing HR department or take charge of all sponsorship license compliance requirements. We can advise you on how to maintain compliance with a UK Sponsor License. Moreover, you can rely on our licensing compliance package to meet the unique demands of your business.