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Business Immigration Advice if Your Sponsor Licence has been Suspended

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Has your sponsor licence been suspended? If the answer is yes or if you suspect you are at risk of sponsor licence suspension then your business should act now. Immigration solicitors say that even when your business has had its sponsor licence suspended it is not too late to remedy matters and get your sponsor licence reinstated and back to an A rating. However, indecision and delay in acting may make it too late.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers

For sponsor licence advice call the expert London immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Suspended sponsor licence

A suspended sponsor licence is redeemable provided your company acts. If your business takes no action (or half-hearted action) your sponsor licence will be revoked by the Home Office. Your company will not be able to immediately apply for a new sponsor licence because the Home Office normally imposes a cooling off period of at least 12 months between the date of revocation and the date your business is able to apply for a new sponsor licence.

The consequences of your sponsor licence being revoked

In addition to delays in applying for a new sponsor licence, the consequences of your sponsor licence moving from suspended to revoked status are:

  • Your business cannot continue to sponsor your existing employees who are skilled worker visa holders or your other sponsored employees, such as workers in the UK on senior or specialist worker visas or health and care worker visas
  • Your company may find it harder to secure a sponsor licence when your business reapplies for a licence after the end of the cooling-off period
  • If your key personnel change their employment or they are appointed as your key personnel in your next sponsor licence application they may not be deemed appropriate people to act as key personnel, resulting in your new sponsor licence application being refused
  • Your sponsored employees may secure new sponsored employment with your business rivals as immigration rules prevent you from employing your existing sponsored staff on an agency or freelance basis after your sponsor licence has been revoked
  • If you recruit or employ any overseas workers who require sponsorship whilst your sponsor licence is revoked you will be in breach of the law on illegal working
  • If your company needs to replace several sponsored employees because of the revocation of its sponsor licence, you may have to pay a premium to recruit available settled workers because UK based recruits with the necessary skills or expertise are in limited supply
  • The Home Office publishes a list of companies that have had their sponsor licences suspended or revoked. Some firms may want to sever links with your business if they do not want to be associated with a business that cannot retain its sponsor licence. That is because some companies are sensitive to the potential adverse publicity of being associated with a company that has not complied with Home Office reporting and recording duties

Understanding the consequences of sponsor licence revocation is the key to ensuring that if your sponsor licence is suspended that you act now to get it reinstated.

Sponsor licence suspension and sponsored overseas workers

Sponsorship Licence lawyers say that not only does the suspension of your sponsor licence have financial consequences for your business it may also affect your recruitment plans. Whilst your sponsor licence is suspended your business cannot recruit any additional sponsored staff although you can continue to employ your existing sponsored overseas workers. However, if employed skilled worker visa holders find out that your sponsor licence has been suspended, and is therefore at risk of revocation, they may try to get another sponsored job in case your business is not successful in getting the sponsor licence suspension lifted.

If your sponsor licence is suspended, and your company is reliant on sponsored staff, your HR team will need to carefully consider the impact of the sponsor licence suspension on staff morale and employee retention.

Is a sponsor licence always suspended before it is revoked?

The Home Office can revoke your sponsor licence without first suspending it. The decision on whether to suspend or revoke the licence depends on the severity of the reasons leading to the Home Office’s action. For example, widespread employment of illegal workers, failure to carry out any right-to-work checks or modern slavery issues will result in the revocation of a sponsor licence rather than its suspension.

A sponsor licence will probably be suspended if the Home Office believe that the sponsor licence reporting and recording breaches or other issues that led to the sponsor licence suspension are remediable through your business working with the Home Office through an action plan.

How long can a sponsor licence stay suspended?

Your sponsor licence cannot stay in suspended animation indefinitely as, from the Home Office perspective, that would give your business no incentive to put your house in order and sort out the issues that led to the sponsor licence suspension. Compliance with sponsor licence action plans is time limited and the Home Office will not keep extending or issuing action plans if your business does not sort out the problems that led to the licence suspension.

Suspension notice

If your sponsor licence is going to be suspended your business will receive a sponsor licence suspension notice from the Home Office.

If your business ignores the notice then the Home Office will revoke your licence. There is no right of appeal against the decision to revoke a sponsor licence so you cannot rely on Sponsorship Licence lawyers being able to challenge the revocation by an appeal against the decision. Whilst business immigration solicitors can challenge a revocation decision by threatening a judicial review or issuing judicial review proceedings it is best to get sponsor licence advice from specialist Sponsorship Licence lawyers as soon as you realise your sponsor licence is at risk, and if you do not realise the risk , then as soon as you get the suspension notice.

When you get a suspension notice your Sponsorship Licence lawyers can argue that the notice should not have been sent and that your licence should be reinstated to its A rating. Alternatively, your business immigration solicitors can respond to the Home Office by acknowledging some or all of the Home Office highlighted reporting and recording breaches, explaining the reasons for historical problems, the action already taken by your business to improve systems and procedures and the commitment of your company to work with the Home Office in getting the sponsor licence reinstated to an A rating so that it can resume recruitment of skilled worker visa applicants.

Your company only has 20 days to respond to a sponsor licence suspension notice and given the tight timeframe, it is best to get early advice from Sponsorship Licence lawyers so they can conduct an internal audit and can then advise you on the best plan of action. For example, your business may need to commit to additional training of key personnel, the appointment of additional level 2 users, the instruction of Sponsorship Licence lawyers to manage your sponsor licence for you or tweaks to your HR procedures or right-to-work checks.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers

For sponsor licence management and suspension advice call the business immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

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