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Sponsor Licence Sponsor Management System Changes For Sponsor Licence Holders

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Published by the Head of Business Immigration, Mr Hans Sok Appadu and Sponsorship Licence lawyer, Ms Sanae Sahebjalal

If you are operating a small nursing home or you are the CEO of a business with 200 plus care homes, or you are running a chain of businesses in the hospitality sector, you are likely to have a sponsor licence to sponsor skilled worker visa holders. Whatever the size of your organisation or your sector it can be hard to keep up with all the sponsor licence rule changes and to keep on top of managing your sponsor licence.

In this blog, our immigration solicitors provide a summary of recent sponsor licence rule changes and explain how they may affect your business and key personnel.

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

For specialist sponsor licence advice call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Update to the Home Office sponsor management system manual for level one users

There has been a recent update to the Home Office sponsor management system manual. Since 19 June 2023, it is mandatory for a level one user to input their national insurance number on the sponsor management system. The only opt-out is if a level one user is exempt from compliance.

If your level one user claims an exemption from providing a national insurance number the exemption request will be passed to a Home Office caseworker to consider. This may delay the processing of system requests.

A level one user has a crucial role in the management of a sponsor licence as it is their job to carry out the necessary reporting and recording duties on the sponsor management system. When a business applies for its first sponsor licence it can only nominate one level one user. After the Home Office grants the sponsor licence a business can nominate an additional level one user and also level two users.

The change in rules for level one users emphasises the importance of selecting your key personnel with care. Some people will be reluctant to disclose their national insurance number and others will have a problem with supplying it. That’s why it is best to double-check this point before nominating someone as a level one user.

It may seem a minor update but Sponsorship Licence lawyers emphasise that noncompliance may result in sponsor management system requests not being actioned. Noncompliance could potentially result in your business being flagged to the Home Office for a compliance visit or audit.

Other sponsor management system changes and updates

In March 2023 the Home Office introduced changes to make it easier for sponsor licence holders to update information on the sponsor management system. Some changes can now be updated by the business using the sponsor management system rather than having to put in a request for action by a Home Office official.

The changes include:

  • Being able to update the details of the authorising officer, key contact and level one user
  • Ability to update organisation details
  • Able to replace the authorising officer and key contact and add a new level one user
  • Automatic renewal of the annual certificate of sponsorship allocation

Some of these changes only apply if your business meets specified criteria.

Why are the NI changes to the sponsor licence sponsor management system important?

As busy business immigration lawyers seeing hard-pressed business owners manage their sponsor licences, we believe that the latest change for level one users and the extra red tape it creates is the last thing that UK business owners need when they are battling to recruit staff and manage overheads.

Every day the business immigration team listens to the concerns of sponsor licence holders who are struggling to keep things ticking over whilst facing unprecedented challenges, such as a steep mortgage increase or rent rise, or demands from staff for wage rises because of the inflationary pressures that employees are experiencing.

Many of the calls that OTS Solicitors receive about sponsor licences are from care homes or nursing home owners or managers. They either need to apply for a first sponsor licence or they are worried that they are slipping behind with their sponsor licence record keeping and reporting duties. They get a sympathetic reception from our Sponsorship Licence lawyers as we know that the recruitment crisis in the care sector is not only placing tremendous pressure on the NHS but it is also making the daily management of care and nursing homes a living nightmare for hard-pressed care home owners and harassed HR staff.

The requirement for level one users to provide national insurance details threatens to tip some key personnel over the edge as the view taken in many nursing homes and care facilities is that they are working extremely hard to ease the pressure on the NHS but without the same level of resources or support as the public sector. However, sponsor licence holders also think they are also being expected to act as unpaid immigration control for the Home Office as the sponsor management system is designed to be the eyes and ears of immigration control in the workplace.

Our business immigration team has asked a range of businesses with sponsor licences what they need to help them manage their sponsor licence and their sponsored employees. The response varies according to the sector they operate in and the size of their business. A London restaurant owner is under different pressures than a fintech boss or the CEO of a business operating 200+ care homes. However, the burning desire of most sponsor licence holders is for a Sponsorship Licence lawyer to make all the hassle disappear.

We can't promise to do that but we have listened to our clients and devised sector-specific sponsor licence pre-licence audit and training packages as well as a post-licence sponsor management service so that your business immigration lawyers take the strain. Understanding the need for certainty in uncertain economic times our sponsor management service is provided for a fixed monthly retainer. You get the expertise you need with no nasty hidden surprises.

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

For specialist sponsor licence advice call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

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