Paragraph 15.6 of the Tier 2/5 Sponsor Guidance requires sponsors to notify UKVI via the SMS, within 10 working days, if there is a change in the location of a sponsored worker’s work from the location on the Certificate of Sponsorship. Failure to do so is a breach of the sponsor’s duties.
Since April 2017, UKVI has had the power to visit third parties to carry out checks on sponsored workers and to review the agreements between the sponsoring entity and third party.
Paragraph 7.4 of the Tier 2/5 Sponsor Guidance states that:
‘To assess suitability criteria, we look at whether…
- we are able to visit and conduct checks to ensure that the sponsor duties are being complied with on an immediate, unannounced basis; this includes checks at any physical addresses where your sponsored employees (would) carry out their employment duties – if access to a third party’s site is deemed necessary by us (either at application stage or later as part of compliance checks), we would need to see evidence of arrangements between you and the third party that would ensure full cooperation by the third party.
- you can offer a genuine vacancy …we may wish to see contracts between you and any third party.’
Paragraph 17.3 states that:
‘If your migrant workers perform their employment duties at a third party’s office, it is your responsibility to ensure that the third party is aware of the possibility of unplanned and unannounced visits and checks being conducted at their premises and ensure their full cooperation.’
Because this new power to visit and review arrangements with third parties was buried quite deeply in the guidance, many sponsors are not as yet aware of it.
If your sponsored workers are sent to client locations, for example, this could be captured.
University academics who are sponsored and who may spend time at other universities, research facilities etc., for example, would also fall under this provision.
We recommend that sponsors review their sponsored workers and carry out the following steps:
- ensure that there is clarity as to who is located at any third party sites;
- ensure the location on the SMS has been updated;
- provide guidance to the third party on how to manage a visit by UKVI and ensure that the worker is working in accordance with their sponsorship whilst at the third party site; and
- have documentation in place concerning the arrangement to produce to UKVI if needed.
If your organisation requires legal advice on any of the rules for sponsors, please contact us.