Sponsor Licence Compliance banner


Sponsor Licence Compliance

  • Posted on

UK business owners are no different from anyone else in their loathing of rules that seem unnecessary or that get in the way of focussing on the important stuff.

For many UK business owners, the reality is that they can't recruit the staff they need from within the UK so they are forced to look overseas for skilled workers. That means they need a sponsor licence from the Home Office to recruit workers on a work visa and they need to comply with Home Office imposed sponsor licence duties.

In this article, our immigration solicitors run through the sponsor licence compliance issues that come with a successful sponsor licence application.

UK Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers

For help with sponsor licence applications and sponsor licence management call the Sponsorship Licence lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Starting and ending sponsor licence compliance

Technically, your business doesn’t need to be sponsor licence compliant until you have been granted a sponsor licence but to get the sponsor licence you need to be able to demonstrate that you have systems and procedures that are sponsor licence compliant. That’s why our Sponsorship Licence lawyers recommend a pre sponsor licence application audit so we can check out what your business is doing, ideally just tweak a few things and make some suggestions, to ensure your  staff are already familiar with the revised procedures by the time your sponsor licence is granted. We find that familiarity with any sponsor licence related changes makes the transition to sponsor licence compliance a bit easier once you have your licence and are ready to sponsor your first skilled worker visa applicant.

Throughout the life of your sponsor licence, you will need to comply with your sponsor licence duties. A sponsor licence lasts for 4 years but most companies apply to renew their sponsor licence because if they don’t do so they can't continue to employ their sponsored employees or recruit additional workers on skilled worker visas.

Sponsor licence compliance only ends if you decide to give up your sponsor licence or if your sponsor licence is revoked by the Home Office. Sponsorship Licence lawyers recommend that you still think about compliance in these circumstances as you may want to apply for a further sponsor licence in future, for example, if your recruitment needs change or at the end of the cooling off period imposed by the Home Office when a sponsor licence is revoked.

Sponsor licence compliance – false economy to ignore

As Sponsorship Licence lawyers we come across all types of company, large and small, from tech niche firms to busy London restaurants, and find that businesses take different attitudes towards sponsor licence compliance. Some are diligent, others take the attitude that the Sponsorship Licence lawyers will help them sort out any sponsor licence issues, such as audits or threats of sponsor licence suspension or working through Home Office action plans.

Whilst immigration solicitors can sort out a lot of sponsor licence issues, it is generally best for your business if you put your compliance systems in place or you get Sponsorship Licence lawyers to manage your sponsor licence for you. Not taking either of those two approaches can be a false economy as you don’t want to risk losing your sponsor licence or, in the long run, spending more on legal fees to sort out problems that have mounted up.

Sponsor licence duties

Sponsor licence duties involve 3 broad areas:

  • Compliance with the immigration rules
  • Sponsor licence recording
  • Sponsor licence reporting

In addition, sponsor licence holders are under an obligation to comply with UK law (for example, conducting right to work checks) and to act in the public good. Breach these duties and your business risks losing its sponsor licence, through suspension, downgrading and revocation.

Immigration rules compliance

Immigration rule compliance means you need to ensure that when you are sponsoring overseas workers you are recruiting to fill genuine vacancies and that you are only employing overseas workers with the necessary skills and experience to qualify for the skilled worker visa or UK expansion worker visa or senior or specialist worker visa and that you are paying the workers the relevant minimum salary for their particular work visa.

Checking if a job meets a standardised occupation code, whether it is on the shortage occupation list or whether your job applicant qualifies as a new entrant, can be a bit daunting so if you need advice during the recruitment process our Sponsorship Licence lawyers are here to help with all your questions, including queries over the allocation of certificates of sponsorship. Contact us online or call us on 0203 959 9123.

Sponsor licence recording

Appendix D of the Immigration Rules sets out what paperwork and records need to be kept by a sponsor licence holder. In summary, your business will need to retain a photocopy or electronic copy of the:

  • Documents used in support of your sponsor licence application
  • Sponsored employee’s paperwork comprising the pages of their passport containing identity details, immigration status and leave stamps, and leave to remain and their biometric residence permit (BRP)
  • Sponsored employee’s contract together with their national insurance number and, where relevant, the disclosure barring service (DBS) check
  • Sponsored employee’s pay information (pay slips) and evidence of skill set (this could be their job application or copy qualification certificates or references)
  • Sponsored employee’s contact details, including previous contact details
  • Sponsored employee’s absences from employment
  • Other documents needed for the sponsored worker’s visa

For sponsor licence record keeping purposes, your business should keep the records until a Home Office official has looked at them or, once they have been checked, for a minimum of 1 year or for the period of employment. Sponsorship Licence lawyers say that if you are keeping records electronically, so there are no additional storage costs, it can be prudent to hang onto the records.

Sponsor licence reporting

In addition to recording duties, your business is also under a duty to report some matters to the Home Office. The report is made using the online sponsor management system.

The sponsored employee reporting triggers are:

  • Not attending work on the first day of their employment
  • Being absent from work for 10 or more days and the absences were not authorised
  • Having their employment terminated or them resigning
  • Having their role changed so the job description is no longer consistent with the information on their certificate of sponsorship

The company reporting triggers are:

  • A change to the charitable status of the organisation
  • Change of name
  • Company takeover
  • Company sale of whole or part of the business
  • Company stops trading

With company changes, Sponsorship Licence lawyers recommend early legal advice is taken, as in some cases, it may be necessary to apply to the Home Office for a new sponsor licence.

How can the Sponsorship Licence lawyers at OTS Solicitors help?

Whatever the nature of your sponsor licence reporting and recording duty queries, our Sponsorship Licence lawyers and business immigration solicitors can help. If you have concluded that using a professional sponsor licence management company to manage the red tape surrounding your sponsor licence is best then we can assist with that; our aim is to make the complex simple, so you can get on with business.

UK Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers

For help with sponsor licence applications and sponsor licence management call the Sponsorship Licence lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

    Get in touch

    Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.