Ensuring UK Sponsor Licence Compliance
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Sponsor Licence Compliance Visit/Audit Support
Passing a sponsor licence compliance visit by the Home Office is a critical aspect of maintaining your sponsor licence. The compliance visit/audit ensures that your business remains compliant with the immigration rules and that you’re meeting your sponsorship duties. Failing a compliance visit can have severe consequences, including suspension or revocation of your licence.
Our immigration experts offer comprehensive guidance on preparing for a compliance visit. We help you understand what to expect and how to ensure your business is fully compliant. Here’s how we can assist:
Expert Guidance: Our immigration experts offer comprehensive guidance on preparing for compliance visit. We help you understand what to expect and how to ensure your business is fully compliant.
Document Preparation: We assist in gathering and organising all necessary documents and records required for the compliance visit, ensuring that you have everything in order.
Mock Audits: To ensure your readiness, we conduct mock audits that simulate a compliance visit. This helps identify any potential issues and allows you to address them proactively.
On-Site Support: If necessary, our team can provide on-site support during the compliance visit, ensuring that you can confidently navigate the process.
Continuous Compliance: We offer ongoing support to help your business maintain compliance between visits, minimising risks and ensuring the smooth operation of your sponsorship program.
Don’t leave the outcome of your compliance visit to chance. With our support, you can have peace of mind, knowing that you have a dedicated team of experts by your side, ready to assist and guide you through every compliance step.
Sponsor Licence Compliance: A Summary
Obtaining a sponsor licence gives a business significant power and therefore concomitant responsibility. Licence obligations must be met if a sponsor is to retain their licence.
The Home Office will check compliance through a digital check or a premises audit. Failure to demonstrate compliance can result in licence revocation and the business losing its sponsored workers.
1. Right to Work Checks
All employers must ensure that they carry out right to work checks in the prescribed manner. For example, most migrants will need to provide their employer with a share code.
2. Migrant Contact Details:
Sponsors must have a system in place to keep sponsored migrants’ details up to date.
3. Record Keeping and Recruitment
Licensed sponsors must document recruitment processes in compliance with their licence. Businesses will also need to substantiate how they have recruited their sponsored worker(s) and confirm that they have verified their skills and experience.
Importantly, the Home Office will check that the salary is being fully paid and the migrant is working in the job as described on the certificate of sponsorship.
4. Migrant Tracking and Reporting
The Home Office will assess whether the sponsor has a satisfactory system in place to track the sponsored worker’s attendance. They will also need to be assured that the sponsor understands
when and what to report through the sponsor management system.
5. General Compliance with UK Law
The Home Office will check sponsor compliance with relevant UK law such as pension auto-enrolment, relevant employment related insurance and health and safety policies.
Home Office Audit: What To Expect?
A Home Office audit or digital compliance check can be a daunting prospect for the uninitiated: failure can have serious consequences for the business and its staff members.
The Home Office typically will notify the authorising officer/key contact through an email of an upcoming audit but unscheduled audits are also within the Home Office’s power.
Digital Compliance Check (most often used for pre-licence checks):
- The Home Office will arrange a Microsoft Teams meeting with the authorising officer;
- During the compliance check the Home Office will quiz the authorising officer on the 5 areas of compliance identified on above as well as about the business itself;
- The sponsor must show HR policies that meet the licence compliance requirements. The sponsors will need to show their employee files as evidence of those policies in action.
Audit (at sponsor premises):
- The Home Office uses a face to face audit more frequently for post-licence checks (where the business already holds a sponsor licence);
- At a premises audit, the Home Office will also interview the business’s sponsored migrants. They will focus on how the recruitment was carried out and whether the sponsor can provide sufficient evidence of the job duties listed on the migrant’s certificate of sponsorship.
After the Audit:
- The Home Office will send a decision letter to the authorising officer/key contact with the result of the audit;
- The result can go three ways: downgrading to B rating; suspension and revocation;
- Revocation inevitably means employment termination for any sponsored workers;
- Downgrading and suspension allows for a 20 working day period to address Home Office concerns with the objective of ‘rescuing’ the licence.
Common Licence Breaches
It’s really important to keep things in check when it comes to managing a sponsor licence. Making sure everything is in order helps maintain a good reputation. Let’s look at some important areas where breaching your compliance duties can cause big problems:
The Home Office will take an extremely dim view where sponsors are unable to evidence how and why they sponsored a migrant.
Penalty: Licence suspension or revocation
Salary and Hours
Sponsors must pay the salary and provide the hours as described on the migrant’s certificate of sponsorship – there are some exceptions to this such as maternity leave or sickness leave but these must be reported through the sponsor management system.
Penalty: Licence suspension or revocation
Right To Work Check Failures
Failure to evidence your right to work is considered to be a major compliance breach. Moreover, if the Home Office finds that a business is employing someone without the right to work, not only will it lose its sponsor licence, it may end up with a hefty fine.
Penalty: Immediate licence revocation and £20, 000 fine
WestBridge Mock Audit
The recent surge in skilled worker visas coupled with the misuse of the route, has led the government to crack down on non-compliant sponsors. Sponsors must take action now to avoid losing their licence by ensuring their employee files are ‘air tight’. Our mock audit service will put sponsors in a position to pass a Home Office audit without breaking a sweat:
- Our experienced lawyers will assess your employee files and HR policies, advise of any potential compliance issues and advise on restorative action.
- We will prepare the authorising officer for the Home Office interview by way of a mock interview.
Additionally we can provide sponsors ongoing support: Our sponsor licence compliance services include:
- Providing ongoing advice on licence compliance;
- Acting as the level 1 user on the sponsor management system;
- Reporting to the Home Office on the sponsor’s behalf;
- Requesting and assigning certificates of sponsorship;
- Replying to Home Office request for further information.
With years of experience, we’ve successfully guided numerous businesses through the compliance maze, ensuring they meet every requirement so that they can retain their licence. When you choose us, you’re choosing a trusted partner dedicated to your compliance journey.
Call us now at 0203 086 7236. Our experts are eager to discuss how our services can precisely align with your requirements, providing you with peace of mind and a steadfast partner for your compliance success. Your journey to compliance starts here, with us.
Sponsor Licence Compliance FAQs
Q: Why should I consider professional support for Sponsor Licence Compliance?
Ans: Ensuring compliance with immigration rules and sponsorship duties is complex. Our expert support provides guidance, document preparation, and ongoing assistance, reducing the risk of compliance breaches during Home Office visits.
Q: What is the significance of a Sponsor Licence Compliance Audit?
Ans: Compliance audits are critical for maintaining your Sponsor Licence. They verify adherence to immigration rules and sponsorship duties. Failing a Home Office audit can lead to severe consequences, including licence suspension or revocation.
Q: Why is ongoing compliance support important?
Ans: Maintaining compliance between visits is crucial to minimise risks. Ongoing support ensures your sponsorship program operates smoothly and helps address concerns proactively.