Sponsor Compliance Visits - What To Expect?
The Home Office may undertake a sponsor compliance visit in order to assess an organisation once it has submitted a sponsor licence application. They may also visit once a sponsor licence has been granted in order to ensure that the organisation is maintaining its sponsorship duties. Any change in circumstances may also warrant a Home Office visit. This includes, but is not limited to:
- A change of the company address
- Takeovers, mergers, TUPE transfers
- Establishing a UK or overseas branch
Will all sponsor compliance visits be announced?
The Home Office can make an announced or unannounced visit and you must allow Home Office staff to enter and access any premises or sites under your control on demand. Refusal to provide access may result in your sponsor licence being refused or revoked.
What can I expect from a pre-licence assessment visit?
The Home Office may conduct an onsite visit before making a decision on your application for a sponsor licence. Some things which may be checked during a visit include whether:
- There is a genuine need for a sponsor licence
- Your current employees’ right to work documents are valid
- You are able to offer Tier 2 employment at the correct pay and skill level
- The number of migrants sponsored will be proportionate to the size and nature of the business
- You have an adequate system in place to carry out your sponsorship duties
- Anything else the Officer feels they may require to support your application or anything the Officer feels needs further investigation
What can I expect from a sponsor compliance visit?
The Home Office may visit your business after a sponsor licence has been granted to make sure you are complying with your duties and responsibilities as a sponsor. Compliance Officers estimate it takes two to three hours to carry out an immigration audit.
Some of the things which may be checked include that:
- Sponsored migrants are filling a job vacancy at graduate level unless there is a skill level exemption
- You are keeping the required records to fulfil your sponsorship duties
- You are paying the migrant at least the minimum appropriate salary rate
- The right types of CoS has been issued and whether the original number of CoS you requested is still justified
- The information you provided in your sponsor licence application is accurate
- The migrant is complying with the conditions of their leave to remain in the UK
- You are not a threat to immigration control
Will anyone be interviewed during a sponsor compliance visit?
Home Office staff may request an interview with a Sponsor during their visit. You must cooperate with the Home Office if a request is made. The Home Office may also request to interview a migrant during their visit. The purpose of the interview is to assess whether the migrant is working and paid in line with the conditions attached to their leave.
What happens after the sponsor compliance visit?
After a Home Office visit, a visit report will be completed to the case working team and a recommendation will be provided by the Officer. A decision will be made on your overall rating; you will be rated as either A or B. You will be notified regarding the outcome of the Home Office visit.
Following a B rating you can take the following actions:
- Pay the required fee and accept the action plan
- Decline to pay the fee
- Do nothing
If you have been downgraded to a B-rating, you will need to follow an action plan to upgrade your licence and pay an accompanying fee. You must improve your performance within a 3 month period. Failure to pay the fee or take action following a B-rating will result in your licence being revoked. Your sponsor licence may also be revoked or suspended if there is a significant breach of your sponsorship duties. This may also occur if the Home Office has reason to believe that you pose a threat to immigration control.
Contact Our Business Immigration Barristers
It is important that you maintain your sponsorship in order to ensure you retain your licence and the migrant’s permission to work is not jeopardised.
For advice regarding Sponsorship applications, obligations and Home Office visits, contact our immigration barristers and lawyers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via our enquiry form below.