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Hiring Out Sponsored Workers

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As business immigration and Sponsorship Licence lawyers we are often asked about the immigration rules on sponsor licence holders hiring out their sponsored employees to other companies. It is a reasonable question when employers are keen to adopt flexible working practices to beat inflation and all the other pressures on UK business owners. It is also understandable that firms without a sponsor licence would like to avail themselves of seconded or hired sponsored workers to meet their skills gap without the hassle of applying to the Home Office for a sponsor licence or without waiting for their licence application to be determined.

In this article, our immigration solicitors look at the Home Office rules on sponsoring employers hiring out their sponsored employees.

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

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

Hiring out sponsored workers

You may have had a lull in your business and have spare staff capacity. You may have been approached by another firm who has offered you fantastic terms to use your workers on their business premises, whether that is a construction site or restaurant. If the workers are sponsored by your business under skilled worker visas you not only need to consider employment law issues but also the immigration rules and your responsibilities under your sponsor licence.

Whilst you may be tempted to say yes, it is best to reflect and take legal advice from Sponsorship Licence lawyers. If you do not do so you may regret your decision because hiring out sponsored workers could result in:

  • The Home Office conducting an audit
  • The Home Office suspending your sponsor licence
  • The Home Office downgrading your sponsor licence from an A rating to a B rating resulting in your business having to pay for and follow a sponsor licence action plan to try and reinstate the A rating
  • The Home Office revoking your sponsor licence and imposing a time ban or cooling off period. During that period, you cannot apply for a fresh sponsor licence
  • After your sponsor licence has been revoked you may find it difficult to successfully make a fresh application for a sponsor licence at the end of the cooling-off period
  • Your business appearing on a list of named companies where the Home Office has taken the decision to suspend or revoke your sponsor licence. This could cause the business to suffer reputational and financial damage as other companies may  not want to be associated with your business
  • Your business being unable to sponsor additional workers on skilled worker visas whilst your sponsor licence is suspended
  • Your business having to terminate the employment of all your sponsored workers because your sponsor licence has been revoked and your company is unable to recruit sufficiently skilled workers from within the pool of UK talent
  • If your business continues to employ workers who need a sponsoring employer after your company has had its sponsor licence revoked then the business will be employing workers who no longer have the right to work in the UK. Accordingly, the company will be in breach of illegal working legislation

The immigration rules on hiring out sponsored workers

A UK business with a sponsor licence cannot normally hire out their employees who are in the UK on skilled worker visas. The immigration rules are clear that a sponsor licence holder cannot act as a recruitment or staffing agency to avoid other companies needing to apply for a sponsor licence to sponsor their own workers. Nor can a sponsor licence holder agree to supply sponsored workers on an ad hoc basis to another company, even if the hiring out of the workers is only intended to be temporary in nature.

There are some occasions when your business can hire out sponsored workers to a business that does not hold a sponsor licence. Examples include:

  • Your business is in the construction sector and the main contractor has subcontracted your company to either build the properties or carry out specific trades on the site. You are therefore a subcontractor rather than hiring workers out without any daily input into their work
  • Your business is in IT or tech or the digital sector and one of your sponsored employees is an expert in their field and is seconded to work on a fixed-term basis in a training or consultancy capacity at a third-party company to help implement a new IT system or software provided by your business because of your contractual obligation to provide an add on support to implement the IT or digital package. The role must be time-limited. Whilst the sponsoring employee is with the purchasing company your business must remain responsible for the employment of the sponsored worker

Sponsor licence reporting and recording duties

As a sponsor licence holder, your business needs to keep on top of your sponsor licence reporting and recording duties. If sponsored workers are working off-site then Sponsorship Licence lawyers say it is important that key personnel ensure that your business complies with immigration rules on reporting where staff on skilled worker visas are working from. A change of work location for skilled worker visa holders must be reported to the Home Office on the sponsor management system within 10 working days of the change of work site.

How can the Sponsorship Licence Lawyers at OTS Solicitors help your business?

Our business immigration lawyers provide a seamless sponsor licence service from advising you on how to prepare for a sponsor licence application with a pre-licence audit, to submitting a sponsor licence application on your behalf and then dealing with all aspects of sponsor licence management. When it comes to Home Office compliance visits and threats of sponsor licence suspension or revocation you can rely on our Sponsorship Licence lawyers for expert fast advice to guide and support you.

We understand how crucial a sponsor licence can be to the success of your business. That is why our dedicated sponsor licence team will provide you with the specialist help you need.

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

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

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