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Sponsor Duties: A Guide to Record Keeping and Compliance

Navigating the intricacies of sponsorship obligations can be a daunting task for businesses and organisations alike. Among the myriad of responsibilities, one duty stands out: record keeping. As a licensed sponsor, it is imperative to maintain meticulous documentation in compliance with regulations set forth by the Home Office. Appendix D serves as a roadmap, outlining the specific documents to be retained and the duration for which they must be stored.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the depths of Appendix D, shedding light on its significance and unraveling the complexities of document retention for sponsored migrants. From right to work checks to evidence of recruitment, we explore the list of documents that must be kept and the length of time they must be retained for by the sponsors, ensuring a thorough understanding of sponsor duties.

What Documents Do Employers and Organisations Need to Keep?

Part 1: Documents for each sponsored migrant

The documents should be kept for each sponsored migrant include:

  • Right to work check: this is to ensure that you comply with your sponsor duty and to establish a ‘statutory excuse’ against liability for a civil penalty. This should be done before they start work and before the end of their permission to work. Our recent post, Fines for Illegal Working to Triple from 13 February 2024 cover the new civil penalties charges and what will happen if an employer is found employing workers illegally;
  • Evidence of entry to the UK: If you sponsor the worker for entry clearance, do keep a copy of the worker’s current permission to demonstrate that they enter the UK during the validity of the visa;
  • A copy of the worker’s NI number;
  • History of the worker’s contact details;
  • A copy of the worker’s Disclosure and Barring Service check, if applicable;
  • Record of the worker’s absences;
  • A copy of the contract awarded on the Global Business Mobility – Service Supplier route and either the tender document for that contract or evidence of how the contract was awarded if it was not formally tendered;
  • For the Global Business Mobility – Secondment Worker route, a copy of the agreement or contract for goods or investment to which you and the overseas business are parties. You must also keep evidence of how you were awarded the contract or a tender document for a contract for goods or evidence of how the contract was awarded if it was not formally tendered;
  • A copy of Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate, if applicable;
  • A copy of the child performance licence from the local authority if a child below school-leaving age is being sponsored on the Creative Worker route to take part in films, plays, concerts or other public performances;
  • A copy of the letter from the child’s parents or legal guardian or just one parent if that parent has sole responsibility, if you are employing a child aged under 18;

Part 2: Evidence of recruitment

You may be required to provide evidence of a formal resident labour market test before hiring a migrant worker in some routes. This can be a copy of the job advertisement placed or a screenshot of the website hosting the advertisement.

There are some routes where there is no formal residence labour market test but it is good practice to explain and provide evidence, if possible, to show how the sponsored migrant worker has been recruited. This will help to show that the vacancy is genuine. 

Part 3: Documents showing rates of pay for the sponsored workers

Documents to show that the relevant salary threshold has been met for the sponsored job:

  • Payslips showing the name, NI number, tax code and any deductions made;
  • Evidence showing the amount and the frequency of payments to the worker;
  • A copy of employment contract;
  • Evidence of any allowances made to the worker;
  • Any other document set out in the relevant code of practice;

Part 4: Documents showing the skill level of the sponsored workers

To demonstrate that the sponsored worker has the relevant skill level to undertake the role, the sponsor should check and keep: 

  • Any qualifications that the sponsored worker holds, for example, a degree certificate;
  • A job description listing the duties and responsibilities of the job; 
  • A copy of any registration or professional accreditation documents required to carry out the role;
  • Details of the worker’s technical or specialist skills if the worker is coming to the UK under the entourage provisions of the Creative Worker route; 

Part 5: Documents for Students

For migrants on the Student or Child Student route, the documents to be retained are:

  • A copy of the current passport with relevant stamps showing permission to stay in the UK; 
  • A copy of the BRP or eVisa;
  • Record of all absences and attendance;
  • History of contact details, including the residential address and telephone number;
  • An ATAS certificate, if applicable;
  • Any other documents to show assessment carried out by you which result in you making an offer to the migrant, such as reference letters;
  • Details of the foster carer and address to the local authority for child students being cared for in private foster care arrangement;
  • Evidence of the selection process which resulted in the endorsement should be kept for a Higher Education Provider who is planning to endorse a migrant under the Tier 1 Start-up route; 

How Long Do Employers and Organisations Need to Store the Records For?

During the period of sponsorship, the documents relating to the migrant must be kept until whichever is the earlier of: 

  • one year has passed from the date of the end of sponsorship of the migrant; or 
  • the date on which a compliance officer has examined and approved the documents if the examination date is less than one year after the end of sponsorship of the migrant. 

Any documents submitted in support of the sponsor licence application should also be kept as long as you hold a sponsor licence. You can choose to keep the documents as paper copies or in an electronic format as long as they are available for inspection on request.

There may be some documents which must be kept for a longer period, such as to comply with legislation on preventing illegal working. This has been discussed in our blog here where we explained the different types of right to work checks. 

What Are the Consequences of Failing to Keep the Appendix D Documents?

If you breach your sponsorship duties, the Home Office may take action against you. We have explained in our post here that they could suspend your licence or revoke your licence.

The Home Office may conduct a compliance check to ensure that you are complying with your sponsor duties. They may inspect the records and/or systems to see if you have the records listed in Appendix D. 

We have recently seen a rise in the number of compliance checks carried out by the Home Office. An immigration audit can be effective in preparing your business ready for a compliance check. We have published a post on Care Organisations and Sponsor Licence Compliance Issues setting out steps that can be taken to protect your care organisation from suspension and/ or revocation. 

Contact our Immigration Barristers

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