When UKVI suspends an organisation’s sponsor licence, one factor that can contribute to this is where UKVI alleges a failure by the sponsor licence holder to make required reports. We share our experience of advising sponsors on this aspect of sponsor compliance.
A decision to suspend a sponsor licence usually takes place following a UKVI compliance visit. A UKVI compliance visit can take place at any time throughout the duration of the sponsor licence.
UKVI’s officers who conduct a compliance visit will often interview both those responsible for the licence and sponsored workers and review documentation and policies in order to check that the sponsor licence holder is:
- compliant with the general sponsor duties;
- sponsoring workers in genuine vacancies, and;
- complying with UK law generally, such as the National Minimum Wage Act, health and safety laws, etc.
Duty to report
A sponsor licence holder must comply with a number of duties and responsibilities as set out by UKVI within the Sponsor Guidance.
One such duty is to report certain information or events through the Sponsorship Management System within a set time limit, usually 10 or 20 working days.
Examples of reports that must be made within 10 working days and which can often be overlooked, include a duty to report:
- if a sponsored worker does not start the role for which they are being sponsored;
- if the worker stops being sponsored for example if they resign, are dismissed or if they switch visa category and no longer require sponsorship; or
- if the sponsored worker receives a promotion or a change to their salary.
Reports that must be made within 20 working days generally involve changes to the organisation rather than to the sponsored worker, such as if the name or address of the business changes or there is a change of ownership.
UKVI states that a sponsor’s licence may be revoked if there is a failure to comply with any of the sponsor duties, however, it would be unusual for a failure to report alone to lead to the revocation of a sponsor licence, unless this is a significant failure. Where a sponsor has its licence suspended, a failure to report is generally one of a number of issues listed but it is important that when challenging a suspension that the issue is correctly addressed.
Challenging the assertion that there has been a failure to report
If UKVI alleges that there has been a failure to report and this is not the case, it is generally a very simple issue to address by providing a detailed explanation.
We do however find that in the vast majority of circumstances, where UKVI alleges that there has been a failure to report, that this is in fact the case.
In such a situation, where there has been a failure to report, it is generally advisable to make the report, even where this would be late, and to then strengthen any policies and procedures to ensure that such a failure could not happen again in the future. Evidence of strengthened policies should be provided to UKVI as part of detailed representations.
If however the failure to report is more fundamental, for example if there has been a change of ownership which has not been reported, this can be seen as a more serious issue and the steps which should be taken would vary on a case by case basis.
Sponsors challenging the suspension of a sponsor licence should ensure that all allegations made within the suspension letter are adequately addressed.
Challenging a ‘failure to report’ suspension of a sponsor licence: How our immigration solicitors can help
We are experienced in helping organisations meet their sponsor duties and we also offer compliance reviews. If you have any concerns regarding a failure in compliance. If you need any further information, please contact us or complete our enquiry form below.