Sponsor Licence holders in the UK are required to comply with certain conditions and duties associated with the licence. Failure to adhere to these conditions can result in the Home Office suspending and then revoking the organisation’s licence.
This concise guide explores the conditions and duties faced by Licence holders, revealing common pitfalls leading to suspension or revocation. From compliance failure to immediate repercussions, we outline the process, emphasising the importance of swift resolution during suspension.
Discover the far-reaching consequences, including reputational damage and the inability to sponsor new employees.
Common Reasons for Sponsor Licence Revocation
Revocation can occur for various reasons but common grounds include:
- Compliance failure: If the sponsoring organisation fails to comply with the duties and responsibilities outlined in the Sponsor Guidance, such as record-keeping, reporting, and monitoring obligations, the sponsor licence can be revoked.
- Breach of UK Immigration Rules: Sponsor licence can be at risk of revocation if the organisation is found to have breached the immigration rules, for example by employing individuals who do not have the right to work in the UK or by assigning Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) incorrectly.
- False information: The Home Office expects the sponsor licence holders to be honest and transparent. If the sponsoring organisation provided false or misleading information in its application for a sponsor licence or in any related documents, the licence may be curtailed.
- Failure to pay fines: If the organisation fails to pay civil penalties imposed by the Home Office for immigration-related offences, the Home Office can revoke its sponsor licence.
- Revocation of a related licence: If the organisation holds a sponsor licence as part of a broader licensing regime, and another regulatory body revokes a related licence, the sponsor licence may also be at risk. For example, a business providing medical service may lose its licence from the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. Subsequently they will not be able to operate legally in the UK and may lose their sponsor licence as a result.
- Failure to cooperate with the Home Office: To ensure the continuous compliance with UKVI rules and regulations, the Home Office may conduct audits of sponsor licence holders or initiate investigations. If the organisation fails to cooperate with the Home Office audits, inspections, or investigations, its licence can be revoked.
What Happens When a Sponsor Licence is Suspended/Revoked in the UK?
When companies are found to be in breach of their compliance duties, their licence can be suspended or revoked.
A licence is normally suspended if there are issues with record-keeping, reporting, or monitoring responsibilities. If the licence is suspended, the organisation may not be able to issue new Certificates of Sponsorship. This means that it will not be able to sponsor new migrant employees.
Whilst the licence is suspended the Home Office will give the licensed sponsor 20 working days to address the compliance breaches identified in the suspension letter. If the licensed sponsor is able to address the Home Office’s concerns they will be added back to the register. If not, the Home Office will revoke the licence.
Where serious breaches are identified, revocation can be immediate. Not reporting significant changes, employing workers illegally, failure to maintain accurate records – all these factors can result in licence revocation.
If a licence is revoked, the sponsor loses its ability to employ or sponsor foreign workers or students. Any existing sponsored individuals may have their visas curtailed, and the sponsor is required to inform affected individuals.
It’s important for organisations holding a Sponsor Licence to be diligent in complying with the Immigration Rules and to keep their records and processes in order. The Home Office may conduct periodic audits to ensure compliance, and failure to meet the required standards could lead to the revocation of the Sponsor Licence.
If a Sponsor Licence is revoked, it can have significant consequences for the organisation, including the inability to sponsor new employees under the Points-Based System and potential reputational damage. Therefore, organisations should stay informed about the rules and guidelines and seek legal advice if needed to ensure ongoing compliance.
Sponsor Licence holders might consider using our audit compliance service which will put the organisation in a position to pass the Home Office audit without any problems and ensure continued compliance in the future.
At Westbridge we have over 17 years of experience in assisting organisations to remain compliant with their duties. Contact us today to receive comprehensive guidance and support in ensuring compliance with your sponsor duties.