When an organisation applies for a sponsor licence, it must nominate key personnel who will be named on the licence. The key personnel roles are Authorising Officer, Key Contact, Level 1 User and Level 2 User. The same person can fill all the roles or different people can be appointed for different roles. Here we will look at who can be an Authorising Officer.
The Authorising Officer has the overall management responsibility for the sponsor licence and the organisation’s compliance with the sponsor duties.
Ensuring compliance with the sponsor duties
The Authorising Officer will not automatically have access to the Sponsor Management System (SMS), which is the system used to assign Certificates of Sponsorship and perform sponsor compliance activities. They will however be responsible for anyone who does have access to the system.
They will also be responsible for ensuring that the organisation is fully compliant with the sponsor duties and remains compliant at all times.
We strongly recommend that all Authorising Officers have log-in details so that they can access the SMS and check that everything is in order from time to time. Access to the SMS is obtained via an application to become a Level 1 User.
It is important to ensure that whoever will carry out the role of the Authorising Officer has a strong understanding of the sponsorship process and the sponsor duties. They should regularly familiarise themselves with the sponsor guidance, which is updated on a regular basis.
What to consider when appointing an Authorising Officer?
The Home Office requires that the individual nominated for the role of the Authorising Officer must be ‘the most senior person in your organisation responsible for the recruitment of all migrant workers and ensuring you meet all of your sponsor duties’.
If the organisation does not recruit the workers it sponsors, the Authorising Officer must be ‘the most senior person responsible for your activity as a licensed sponsor’.
Only one individual can be appointed as an Authorising Office on each sponsor licence and this function cannot be outsourced to a third-party organisation. An external legal representative cannot lawfully perform the role of Authorising Officer.
The Home Office’s position is that the Authorising Officer must be a paid member of staff or engaged as an office holder. They must be based in the UK (unless a limited exception applies).
The Authorising Officer cannot be an undischarged bankrupt, and they cannot be subject to a Bankruptcy Restrictions Order, Bankruptcy Restriction Undertaking, Debt Relief Restriction Order or Debt Relief Restriction Undertaking.
They must not have any criminal convictions and must not be legally prohibited from being a company director.
There must always be an Authorising Officer in place for the duration of the period when the sponsor licence is held.
It is important to ensure that when an Authorising Officer is going to leave the organisation, a new suitable Authorising Officer is appointed immediately. This is done via the SMS.
How our Immigration Solicitors can help
Our immigration experts are able to provide advice and guidance when appointing key personnel to manage the sponsor licence including the roles and functions they are expected to undertake.
If you require legal assistance or would just like to discuss your situation with one of our experts, please contact us or complete our enquiry form below.