To hire non-UK resident workers, your organisation must hold a valid sponsorship licence.
Getting a Sponsor licence is usually the “easy” part; but maintaining the sponsor licence is often harder because there are so many obligations, duties, and responsibilities imposed. For example:
- reporting duties
- record-keeping duties
- complying with immigration laws, and sponsorship guidance
- complying with wider UK law
If a business breaches its sponsor obligations, sanctions may include revocation of your licence and reporting you to the police/ other authorities.
There are certain events which trigger your duty to report this to the Home Office, usually within a specified timeframe of 10 or 20 working days of the relevant event including:
- if there are significant changes to a sponsored worker’s employment such as promotion, change in job title or core duties, reduction in salary
- if a sponsored worker’s employment is affected by TUPE or similar protection
- if the business (or any branch) changes its name
There are also obligations to retain records and documents, some of these include:
- documents provided as part of the sponsor licence application
- evidence of the sponsored worker’s date of entry to the UK
- a history of the sponsored worker’s contact details
- a record of absences from work
- a detailed and specific job description
In some instances, documents need to be retained to the date on which a Home Office compliance officer has examined and approved them, or for a year from the date your sponsorship of the worker ends. In other instances, documents need to be retained for 2 years following the date employment ends. Other timeframes may also apply.
Compliance with immigration laws, sponsor guidance, and wider UK law
There is of course the requirement to comply with legislation, and guidance – for example:
- only employing appropriately qualified persons for a role
- only recruiting migrants for a genuine vacancy
- compliance with UK employment law
- not engaging in any criminal activity
Many of the sponsor licence obligations are relatively straightforward and not controversial. However, knowing what to do and when, what to keep and for how long can be more difficult. The Home Office have a right to conduct a compliance audit, for example after you’ve submitted an application for a sponsor licence and/or at some point during the lifetime of your sponsor licence. Ensuring you have taken appropriate immigration advice can help minimise risks of your business facing negative situations which may potentially impact your ability to sponsor migrants and/or impact your reputation.
If you have any questions and/or would like tailored advice on any UK immigration matter, please speak to Vincent Chung of Dixcart Legal Limited at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Vincent specialises in the practise of UK immigration lawyer and is a dual qualified solicitor in Scotland, and England & Wales.