If you have a sponsor licence, or are about to apply for one, it is essential that you understand your sponsor licence duties and responsibilities. Failure to comply with your duties can lead to enforcement action by the Home Office. This could result in your licence being revoked, with the effect that any sponsored migrant will have their visa curtailed (cancelled).
You might need support to help you comply with your sponsor duties at various stages.
When might you need our help with compliance?
Before you apply for your licence
You should ensure you have appropriate HR systems in place to comply with your sponsor licence duties before you apply for your licence.
Many organisations are inspected by the Home Office before they will issue a licence. Even if you escape inspection at this early stage, you are likely to be inspected at some point in the future and so time spent getting compliant early on is rarely wasted time.
Preparing for a visit
You might receive notification from the Home Office that you are going to be visited – which basically means you are going to inspected/audited, to check if, and how, you are complying with your sponsor duties. This will usually involve a Home Office case worker holding detailed interviews with the Authorising Officer and other Key Personnel, as well as any sponsored migrants.
Expect the Home Office to meticulously check how you are complying with your duties. Particular areas of focus are likely to be: how you are able to comply with your monitoring and record-keeping duties; how you conducted the resident labour market test; whether the sponsored vacancy is genuine; and how you are meeting your Right to Work obligations.
Your previous sponsor licence application has been refused
If you previously made an application for a sponsor licence which was refused, then you will be subject to a ‘cooling-off’ period during which you may not make a further application. The cooling-off period will be at least six months.
If you have previously been refused, then you can expect any subsequent application to be the subject of particular scrutiny. When making a fresh application you will need to carefully address the issues which caused the earlier refusal. You must ensure your HR systems are fully compliant.
Your sponsor licence has been suspended
You might have received notification that your licence is due to be suspended. During the period of suspension your existing sponsored employees can continue to work for you. You will, however, be prevented from assigning a certificate of sponsorship to a new employee.
Once suspended then the Home Office will consider whether to reinstate, downgrade or revoke your licence. You will be given 20 days to make representations, to argue why your licence should be reinstated. You will need to provide considered evidence to rebut any reasons for suspension.
Your sponsor licence has been revoked
If your licence has been revoked, then any sponsored migrant working for you will have their visa curtailed.
If your licence has been revoked then there is usually a ‘cooling-off’ period of 12 months, or potentially longer, before you can apply for a fresh licence. Further information on making a sponsor licence application is here.
There is no right to appeal against a decision to revoke your licence. A revocation decision can, however, be challenged by judicial review. Beware that you only have three months from the date of revocation to challenge a revocation by judicial review. Furthermore, before filing a judicial review claim we would always look to enter detailed correspondence with the Home Office to see if your case can be resolved to your satisfaction, without going to court.
How can we help?
The Immigration Team at Truth Legal are experts at sponsor licence compliance. We can help you to keep on top of your sponsor licence duties and help you to stay on the right side of the Home Office.
If matters are at a more advanced stage, and if the Home Office is already taking an interest in your company, or have already taken sanctions against you, then we can help.
We can help you by:
- Adapting your HR systems to make sure they are Home Office compliance
- Conducting a ‘mock-audit’ of your systems and provide you with an action-plan.
- Making representations on your behalf and advising on the best evidence to challenge enforcement action
- Advising you on best next steps if your licence has been revoked, including potential judicial review challenge.
If you need help with any sponsor licence compliance matter, contact us now for a free, no-obligation discussion today.