The duties and responsibilities of a sponsor licence holder include maintaining accurate records of sponsored workers, reporting any changes in their circumstances to the Home Office, ensuring sponsored workers comply with the conditions of their visas, cooperating with Home Office audits, duty to comply with immigration laws and all parts of the skilled worker visa and duty not to engage in behaviour or actions that are not conducive to the public good.
Failure to comply with your duties and responsibilities as a sponsor licence holder can result in the revocation of your licence and/or financial penalties. It is therefore essential that you take these duties seriously and ensure that you are fully compliant with UK immigration laws and regulations at all times.
Brief Introduction to sponsor licenses
A sponsor licence is a UK government authorisation allowing a business to employ foreign nationals, such as skilled workers and students. A sponsor licence holder has to comply with a range of legal requirements, including reporting duties and record-keeping duties. To become a sponsor licence holder, the employer must demonstrate that they meet certain criteria and pass the Home Office’s approval process.
A sponsor licence holder must be an active, ongoing organisation in the UK, which can demonstrate its ability to meet the needs of its migrant employees. It must also have valid public and employer’s liability insurance, a valid data protection registration with the Information Commissioner’s Office, and pay their migrants the appropriate salary for their job role.
Sponsor licence holders are legally responsible for providing the UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) with details about their employees, and must report changes to their circumstances within 10 days. They must also keep records about their employees’ immigration status for 10 years. The employer must also comply with UK laws related to employment, such as working with children or carrying out Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on prospective employees. Furthermore, they must ensure they comply with all parts of the skilled worker visa application process. The employer must report any changes to the visa conditions within 20 working days.
Types of sponsor licenses
A sponsor license is a permission granted by the UK government that allows an organization to hire foreign workers. There are several types of sponsor licenses available, including:
- Skilled worker visa: This allows an organization to hire foreign workers for skilled roles that cannot be filled by settled workers in the UK.
- The Graduate Trainee route: This allows an organization to sponsor foreign graduate trainees for up to 12 months.
- Senior or Specialist worker visa: This allows an organization to transfer highly skilled workers from an overseas branch to a UK branch.
- UK Expansion worker visa: This allows an organization to sponsor a sole representative of an overseas business to set up a UK branch.
- High potential individual route: This allows an organization to sponsor highly skilled individuals who have the potential to become future leaders in their field.
Sponsor licenses are necessary because they allow organizations to access a global pool of talent and fill skills gaps in the UK workforce. However, as a sponsor license holder, it is important to understand and fulfill your duties and responsibilities in order to maintain your license and avoid potential consequences.
Duties and responsibilities of a sponsor license holder
Sponsor license holders have an important role in the UK immigration system. They are responsible for providing employment opportunities to non-EEA migrants and ensuring they comply with UK immigration laws. As such, sponsor licence holders must understand their duties and responsibilities.
Duty to comply with wider UK law: Sponsor licence holders must also ensure that they comply with wider UK law, such as employment law. This includes the right of sponsored workers to be paid the National Minimum Wage, rights to rest breaks and annual leave, the right to not be discriminated against and the right to have their working time limited.
Examples of employment law compliance: Sponsors must also ensure they comply with any regulations related to specific types of employment, such as working with children or obtaining Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.
Duty to comply with immigration laws: Sponsors must ensure that their sponsored workers comply with all parts of their skilled worker visa, this includes monitoring attendance and behaviour in the workplace. Sponsors need to remind their sponsored workers about their visa requirements and remind them that any breach could lead to action by the Home Office or criminal prosecution.
Sponsor licence holders have a responsibility to keep up-to-date records of all sponsored workers, including their current contact details, qualifications, job role and salary. The Home Office will expect these records to be updated at least every 12 months or when the information changes. Sponsor licence holders must report any changes to their sponsored worker’s circumstances within 10 working days. This includes:
• Changes to personal details such as name or address.
• Changes to the level of pay or job title/description of a sponsored worker.
• If the sponsored worker is absent from work for more than 10 working days.
• If a sponsored worker has been made redundant or has left the sponsor’s employment.
• If a sponsored worker has had an application for leave to remain refused.
Sponsor licence holders must also inform the Home Office of any new applications they are making to sponsor an additional migrant worker. This includes the submission of a new Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).
Changes to report within 10 days
As a sponsor licence holder, you must inform the Home Office of any changes in the details of your organisation’s registered Tier 2 and 5 sponsors. This includes reporting any changes to the contact details of a key personnel and also changes to information regarding your organisation’s activities, address and business structure. It is also your responsibility to report any changes to the certificates of sponsorship you have issued, such as if the sponsored worker moves job role, or if their salary or working hours change. These changes must be reported within 10 days of them occurring.
The details you provide to the Home Office must be accurate and up-to-date at all times. The Home Office can carry out compliance checks at any time, and they may impose fines or revoke your licence if they find that you have not complied with the regulations. It is therefore essential that you take steps to ensure that all information provided is correct and up-to-date.
By staying on top of reporting any changes to the Home Office, you can ensure that you are compliant with their requirements, and avoid any costly mistakes.
Changes to report within 20 working days
Sponsor licence holders have a duty to inform UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) within 20 working days of certain changes in their business or the people they sponsor. These changes can include changes in:
• Management structure: If you are the company director, you need to report any changes to the company’s management structure such as new directors, resignations or changes in title.
• Sponsored personnel: Any change in the number of sponsored personnel, changes in their job roles, or changes in their salary must also be reported within 20 working days.
• Place of work: You must report any changes to the place of work of your sponsored personnel, including if they take up any additional jobs elsewhere.
• Other information: Sponsor licence holders must also inform UKVI if there are changes to their contact details, such as phone number or email address.
By reporting any changes within 20 working days, you can ensure that you remain compliant with the terms of your sponsor licence and avoid potential penalties.
Other changes to report
As a sponsor licence holder, it is important to keep the Home Office updated on any changes that could potentially affect your status as a sponsor. The following changes must be reported to the Home Office within 10 days of them taking place:
-The appointment of a Level 1 user
-The addition or removal of an Authorising Officer
-Any changes to the address or contact details of the premises listed on the sponsor licence
-Any changes in control of the business
-The addition or removal of an educational establishment to the Tier 4 register
Furthermore, any changes which could affect the roles, duties and responsibilities of your employees that are sponsored under a Tier 2 visa must also be reported to the Home Office within 20 working days. This includes changes to their job title, salary or duties, or if they move to another sponsor.
It is important to note that any changes that involve a breach of the UK immigration laws must be reported immediately. Failing to do so can result in the suspension or revocation of your sponsor licence.
As a sponsor licence holder, it is important to ensure that you are keeping accurate records of all activities related to your sponsorship. This includes records of the workers who have been granted visas, and their contact details. These records should be kept for at least five years from the date the visa expires.
You should also keep a record of all interactions with the Home Office, including the dates and nature of any correspondence. Additionally, you should keep records of any workers you have refused permission to work in the UK, as well as records of any employees whose permission has been revoked by the Home Office.
You should also keep records of any training you have provided to your sponsored workers, as well as records of any audits or visits from the Home Office. You should also document any contact you have had with workers in relation to their applications, such as providing them with application forms or advice on how to complete them.
Finally, it is important that you keep records of the monitoring and compliance measures you have taken to ensure that the terms of the sponsored worker’s visa are being followed. This includes ensuring that they are paid at least the minimum salary they were promised, and working only in the job or sector specified in their visa. This information should be kept for up to two years after the worker’s visa has expired.
Duty to comply with immigration laws and all parts of the skilled worker visa
Sponsor licence holders have a responsibility to ensure that they are compliant with immigration laws and all parts of the skilled worker visa process. This means understanding and being aware of the UK immigration rules and regulations, as well as any updates or changes that may affect their sponsored employees.
This includes understanding the Home Office guidance on the points-based system, and the sponsorship management system, including pre-employment checks and compliance monitoring. Sponsor licence holders must also ensure that they are providing suitable employment conditions for the sponsored workers, in accordance with UK immigration laws. This includes paying the appropriate wage for the job, providing working hours that meet legal requirements and ensuring that contracts comply with employment law.
In addition, sponsor licence holders have a duty to inform their sponsored workers of their rights under the UK immigration system and to check regularly to make sure their sponsored workers are meeting their immigration obligations. This includes checking immigration documents, such as passports, visas and work permits, to ensure they remain valid and up to date.
Finally, sponsor licence holders have a duty to provide immigration compliance reports to the Home Office. These reports must be submitted on time and accurately. Failure to do so can lead to sanctions or revocation of the sponsor licence. It is therefore important for sponsors to stay up to date with immigration rules and regulations, and to keep accurate records of all sponsored workers.
Duty to comply with wider UK law, such as employment law
As a sponsor licence holder, you have a duty to comply with UK employment law. This includes the regulations set out in the Equality Act 2010, Working Time Regulations 1998, National Minimum Wage Act 1998 and National Living Wage Act 2015. You must also ensure that any individuals you are sponsoring are not working in an exploitative or discriminatory manner.
You should ensure that all applicable rules and regulations relating to the safety and health of your employees are met. This includes carrying out risk assessments and following all necessary safety procedures. You must also make sure that your premises comply with fire safety regulations, and that you are providing your employees with the necessary equipment and protection they require.
Furthermore, if you are hiring workers who are under 18 years of age, you must comply with the relevant child labour laws. This includes making sure that young people are not working outside of their designated hours, or for too long in one day. You must also make sure that any specific regulations regarding working with children, such as Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks, are followed.
Examples of employment law compliance (e.g. working with children, DBS checks)
Sponsor licence holders have an important duty to comply with UK employment law. This includes any applicable laws when recruiting and employing foreign nationals. A sponsor licence holder needs to be aware of the different laws and regulations that they need to adhere to, to ensure they are fully compliant.
Working with Children: As part of the UK’s Child Protection Law, employers are required to conduct checks and take appropriate measures when hiring anyone who will be working with children. This includes both foreign nationals and permanent residents.
For example, employers may be required to obtain a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on an individual to ensure that they do not have any convictions or cautions that could disqualify them from working with children. Employers may also be required to conduct interviews or provide additional training or qualifications before hiring an employee who will be working with children.
Employment Law: Additionally, sponsors are also responsible for ensuring they adhere to all other UK employment laws such as the national minimum wage, Working Time Regulations, and health and safety regulations.
In addition to this, sponsors must also ensure that they provide employees with employment contracts that include all the necessary terms and conditions as required by law. This should include a contract for those who are hired for a fixed term and one for those who are employed on a permanent basis.
By adhering to these laws and regulations, sponsors can ensure that their workers are provided with fair treatment and are not subject to discrimination or exploitation.
The requirement to be registered with a regulatory body, if applicable
All sponsors must be registered with a regulatory body if they are providing services in regulated sectors such as health and social care, legal services, education or financial services. This is to ensure that sponsors comply with the standards set out by the sector’s regulator and that the migrants they sponsor are receiving appropriate protection and guidance.
Sponsors may be required to register with several regulators depending on the roles for which they are sponsoring migrants. The most common regulated sectors include:
Health & Social Care – All sponsors must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to provide health and social care roles for sponsored workers.
Legal Services – Sponsors must be registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) or the Bar Standards Board (BSB) to provide legal roles for sponsored workers.
Education – Sponsors must be registered with the Department of Education (DfE) or the Office for Students (OfS) to provide teaching roles for sponsored workers.
Financial Services – Sponsors must be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to provide financial services roles for sponsored workers.
The registration process differs depending on the sector and regulator, but typically requires sponsors to submit an application form and pay a fee. Sponsors must check the requirements of each regulator before submitting their application.
ATAS requirements for certain roles
The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) is a UK government initiative that aims to protect national security by controlling the export of certain technologies, knowledge, and information. The scheme applies to certain academic courses, such as those in the STEM field, which require international students to obtain an ATAS certificate before they arrive in the UK.
As a sponsor licence holder, you must ensure that all sponsored international students who are taking up places on courses that require an ATAS certificate obtain one before they arrive in the UK. You should also check that they renew their ATAS certificate if necessary and inform the Home Office when any changes occur.
In addition, you should ensure that you are familiar with the ATAS process and understand what requirements are necessary for each sponsored student’s course. This includes knowing which courses require an ATAS certificate and which do not, as well as understanding the criteria for obtaining and renewing a certificate.
Finally, you should assist your sponsored students in applying for and obtaining an ATAS certificate. This may involve helping them with their applications, providing advice on meeting the relevant criteria, and informing them of any updates or changes to the requirements.
You must adhere to these requirements to remain compliant with your sponsor licence obligations. Failure to do so could lead to suspension or revocation of your licence.
Duty not to engage in behaviour or actions that are not conducive to the public good
The UKVI expects all sponsor licence holders to abide by the law and take steps to ensure that sponsored workers do not engage in activities or behaviour which could be deemed to be against the public good. This includes, but is not limited to, activities such as human trafficking, exploitation, and criminal activity.
Sponsor Licence holders must ensure that they are familiar with the UKVI guidance on ‘Public Good’ criteria when considering the eligibility of potential sponsored workers and that they keep up-to-date with any changes in policy or practice. They must also have effective measures in place to monitor the behaviour of sponsored workers.
In addition, sponsor licence holders must be aware of their duties under the Immigration Rules and relevant statutory and criminal law. They should take steps to ensure that all relevant policies and procedures are up-to-date and monitored regularly, including conducting regular checks for compliance with the Immigration Rules, employment law, and any other applicable laws or regulations.
Furthermore, it is essential that sponsor licence holders promptly report any concerns regarding a sponsored worker’s behaviour or actions to the UKVI to avoid any potential non-compliance issues.
CGM is a corporate immigration application for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Feel free to contact us on 0300 000 000 or send us an email if you have any questions.
Maintaining a sponsor license
In order to maintain your sponsor license, you must:
- Renew your sponsor license: Your sponsor license is valid for a specific period of time and must be renewed before it expires. You will need to provide evidence of your compliance with sponsorship duties and responsibilities in order to renew your license.
- Update sponsorship information: You must update your sponsorship information, such as the details of your sponsored workers, through the Sponsorship Management System (SMS).
- Report changes to sponsored workers: You must report certain changes to your sponsored workers, such as changes to their contact details or immigration status, through the SMS.
- Face inspections and audits: The UK government may conduct inspections or audits of your organization to ensure that you are complying with sponsorship duties and responsibilities. You must cooperate with these inspections and provide any requested documentation.
- Record Keeping : Sponsors are responsible for keeping a record of all sponsored workers and must ensure that they report any changes to the Home Office within the required timeframes.
Maintaining a sponsor license is important for employers wishing to continue to employ non-EU nationals in the UK. As part of their sponsorship duties, licence holders must make sure they keep their license up to date and adhere to all UK immigration rules and regulations.
Renewing a sponsor license
Renewing a sponsor licence is a crucial part of the sponsorship process. A sponsor licence is valid for four years from the date it was issued and must be renewed before it expires. It is important to be aware of the renewal process and the timeline associated with it, as failure to renew the licence could result in the revocation of the licence and potential civil penalties or criminal charges.
To renew a sponsor licence, sponsors must submit a new sponsorship application at least three months before the current licence expires. The application should include payment of the applicable fee, which may vary depending on the size of the organization.
In addition to applying, sponsors must ensure that they continue to meet all their duties and responsibilities as set out in the sponsorship guidance document, such as reporting changes, keeping records, and monitoring sponsored workers. Sponsors should also update their sponsorship information and report any changes to sponsored workers before renewing their licence.
The Home Office will assess the application within eight weeks and issue a new sponsor licence if all the requirements are met. If the application is not approved, the Home Office will explain as to why. In some cases, applicants may be able to appeal the decision or submit a new application.
Renewing a sponsor licence can be a complex process, but it is essential for those who wish to remain in compliance with UK immigration laws. By following the requirements outlined by the Home Office, sponsors can ensure that their licence remains valid and that they are fulfilling all of their duties and responsibilities as sponsor licence holders.
Updating sponsorship information
As a sponsor licence holder, it is essential to keep your sponsorship information up to date. Any changes or updates need to be reported to the Home Office within 10 working days of the change occurring. Failure to do so can lead to serious consequences, including the revocation of your licence.
The following changes must be reported to the Home Office:
• Change of company name
• Change of business address
• Change in contact details
• Change in sponsorship personnel
• Appointment of key personnel
• Changes to sponsored workers
• Opening or closing a UK branch
• Merger or takeover of a company
• Insolvency procedures
When reporting these changes, you will need to provide evidence, such as updated documents and records, to demonstrate that the changes have been made. You should also take steps to ensure that all sponsored workers are aware of any changes and that their information is updated accordingly.
By keeping your sponsorship information up to date, you can ensure that you remain compliant with immigration laws and regulations and avoid potential repercussions from the Home Office.
Reporting changes to sponsored workers
It is important for sponsor licence holders to report any changes to their sponsored workers to the Home Office as soon as possible. Changes must be reported within 10 days, or 20 working days if the change is related to a new role. Changes that need to be reported include:
• Any change to a sponsored worker’s job title, job role, salary or benefits.
• Any absence from the UK of more than four weeks.
• If the sponsored worker changes their address.
• If the sponsored worker switches from one type of visa to another.
• If the sponsored worker’s permission to work in the UK expires or is extended.
• If the sponsored worker’s immigration status changes for any reason.
• If the sponsored worker has been absent from work for more than 10 consecutive days.
• If the sponsored worker is no longer employed by the sponsor organisation.
It is important for sponsors to report these changes promptly and accurately to ensure compliance with immigration laws. Failing to report changes can lead to fines, revocation of the sponsor’s licence, or even criminal charges.
Consequences of failing to meet sponsorship duties and responsibilities
Failing to meet the duties and responsibilities of a sponsor licence holder can have serious consequences. This includes the revocation of the licence, civil penalties, and even criminal charges.
The Home Office has the power to revoke a sponsor licence if the holder is not meeting its duties and responsibilities. Reasons for revocation include non-compliance with immigration laws and other relevant regulations, including employment law. Revocation of the licence means that any sponsored workers must stop working for the company immediately and the company must surrender all their documents to the Home Office.
The Home Office can also issue civil penalties against companies who fail to meet their sponsorship duties and responsibilities. Civil penalties are financial penalties which can range from £500 to £20,000 per sponsored worker depending on the severity of the breach. These penalties may be imposed in addition to or instead of revoking a sponsor licence.
In certain cases, failure to meet the duties and responsibilities of a sponsor licence holder can result in criminal charges and even imprisonment. If a company is found guilty of knowingly employing an illegal migrant, they may face up to six months in prison or an unlimited fine. It is important to note that all employees must be verified to avoid any potential legal action.
Revocation of a sponsor license
The UK Home Office has the authority to revoke a sponsor licence if they deem that an organisation is not complying with its duties as a sponsor. If a sponsor licence is revoked, the organisation will no longer be able to recruit or renew sponsored workers and will be removed from the Sponsor Management System (SMS).
The Home Office has certain criteria for revoking a sponsor licence. The most common reasons for revocation are:
• Failing to meet sponsorship duties and responsibilities
• Not cooperating with Immigration Enforcement
• Making false statements or providing false documents in relation to sponsorship matters
• Breaches of immigration rules, such as employing a sponsored worker outside of their conditions
• Sponsoring workers who do not have the appropriate qualifications or experience for their role
• Not taking appropriate action if one of your sponsored workers ceases to be eligible for the visa
If your organisation’s sponsor licence is revoked, you will be notified in writing by the Home Office. You will then have 28 days to appeal the decision. It is important to contact a specialist immigration solicitor as soon as possible to ensure that your appeal is successful.
Civil penalties and fines
One of the consequences of failing to meet sponsorship duties and responsibilities is being subject to civil penalties and fines. A sponsor licence holder can be fined up to £20,000 per sponsored migrant worker if they do not comply with the rules. The Home Office also has the power to revoke a sponsor license if they are not satisfied that the holder is complying with the rules.
If a sponsor licence holder fails to make the necessary reports or keep up-to-date records, then they can be issued a notice of intent to fine. The Home Office will allow the sponsor licence holder to provide information before deciding whether or not to proceed with a civil penalty.
In addition to this, there may be criminal charges for any breaches of immigration laws. These can include imprisonment for up to five years, so a sponsor licence holder needs to ensure that they are fulfilling all of their duties and responsibilities.
To avoid these potential consequences, it is best practice for a sponsor licence holder to stay up-to-date on immigration rules and regulations, as well as to keep regular communication with sponsored workers. Furthermore, seeking legal advice when necessary is recommended to ensure that all requirements are being met.
Criminal charges and imprisonment
Sponsor licence holders are required to comply with all applicable UK immigration laws. Breaches of these laws can lead to criminal charges and even imprisonment.
The most serious offences are those that involve a false statement or document, the deliberate non-disclosure of information, fraud, or deception. Depending on the severity of the offence, a sponsor licence holder could face a fine, or up to two years in prison.
It is also an offence to arrange for someone else to be employed in the UK illegally, even if the other person knowingly and willingly agrees to do so. This carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
It is essential for sponsor licence holders to take their responsibilities seriously, and to always stay up-to-date on any changes to UK immigration laws. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse, and severe penalties can be imposed for breaches.
CGM is a corporate immigration application for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Feel free to contact us on 0300 000 000 or send us an email if you have any questions.
Best practices for meeting sponsorship duties and responsibilities
When it comes to fulfilling your duties as a sponsor licence holder, there are several best practices that you should follow. Firstly, regular communication with sponsored workers is essential. This includes ensuring that they have access to appropriate support and guidance throughout their stay in the UK, such as legal advice and access to services.
Staying up-to-date on all immigration rules and regulations is also important, as these can change over time. Make sure to check the UKVI website regularly for updates on any new or amended laws and regulations that may affect your sponsorship duties.
It’s also advisable to seek legal advice when necessary. If you’re unsure about any aspect of your sponsorship duties or responsibilities, it’s best to get the opinion of a qualified lawyer who specialises in immigration law. This will help you to avoid any potential pitfalls and ensure that you remain compliant with the relevant legislation.
Finally, sponsored workers should be monitored and reported on regularly. This includes any changes to the organisation, such as a change of address or key personnel. You must also report any changes to the sponsored worker’s status, such as if they are changing jobs or leaving the country. The SMS (Sponsor Management System) must be updated accordingly and is a great tool for keeping track of your sponsored workers.
By following these best practices, you’ll be well on your way to meeting your sponsorship duties and responsibilities.
Regular communication with sponsored workers
Good communication with sponsored workers is essential to meeting the duties and responsibilities of a sponsor licence holder. Sponsors must keep in regular contact with their sponsored workers and must take reasonable steps to ensure the sponsored worker is complying with the terms of their visa.
Sponsors must ensure that the sponsored worker’s contact details, such as address and phone number, remain up to date and must inform the Home Office of any changes in contact details. They should also ensure that the sponsored worker’s work remains compliant with the requirements of their visa.
Sponsors should also provide sponsored workers with relevant information about their visas and duties, especially if there are changes to their visa status or duties. Sponsors should also consider providing advice or support for sponsored workers during their employment and should make sure that they understand their legal rights and responsibilities.
Finally, sponsors should be aware that they may be subject to inspections or audits by the Home Office and that they could face penalties or sanctions if they fail to comply with their duties as sponsor licence holders. Therefore, sponsors must maintain regular communication with sponsored workers and take all reasonable steps to ensure compliance with immigration laws and regulations.
Providing support and assistance to sponsored workers
As a sponsor licence holder, it is important to provide support and assistance to sponsored workers throughout the duration of their visa. It is your responsibility to ensure that sponsored workers have access to the resources they need to successfully transition into and succeed in their roles.
Some ways you can provide support and assistance include:
• Familiarising sponsored workers with their new roles, including job responsibilities and expectations.
• Ensuring sponsored workers have the appropriate work permits and visas to legally work in the UK.
• Keeping an up-to-date record of all sponsored workers’ details such as contact information, immigration statuses and other important information.
• Providing accurate and timely updates on changes to immigration rules and regulations that may affect sponsored workers.
• Responding promptly to any requests or queries from sponsored workers.
• Resolving any problems that may arise during the course of employment, such as visa expirations or immigration issues.
• Assisting sponsored workers with registering with the relevant regulatory bodies, where applicable.
• Completing and submitting any necessary documents for sponsored workers in a timely manner.
• Proactively monitoring sponsored workers’ performance and providing advice and feedback where needed.
• Encouraging sponsored workers to develop their skills and knowledge throughout their employment.
By taking the time to provide support and assistance to your sponsored workers, you can ensure that they are able to fulfil the duties and responsibilities of their roles, as well as ensure compliance with immigration laws.
Staying up-to-date on immigration rules and regulations
It is important to stay up-to-date on immigration rules and regulations to properly meet the requirements of a sponsor licence holder. Immigration rules and regulations can change regularly, so it is important to regularly check for updates or seek professional advice.
The UK Visas and Immigration website has up-to-date information on the current immigration rules and regulations. They also have a variety of resources such as guidance notes, policy documents and news releases.
Sponsor licence holders need to be aware of their obligations and responsibilities under the Immigration Rules. The government’s Sponsor Guidance has detailed information about the duties and responsibilities of a sponsor licence holder and how to comply with them.
Sponsor licence holders should also ensure that they are complying with any other UK laws which may apply, such as employment law. Employment law can be complicated and specific, so it is important to make sure you have access to the right legal advice when necessary.
Finally, there are certain checks which must be carried out on sponsored workers to comply with the Immigration Rules. The right-to-work checks are very important and the Home Office has published guidance on what employers need to do to complete these checks.
By staying up-to-date on immigration rules and regulations, sponsor licence holders can ensure that they are fulfilling their duties and responsibilities as sponsor licence holders and minimise the risk of penalties or sanctions.
Sponsored worker monitoring and reporting
Sponsor licence holders are responsible for monitoring and reporting on the sponsored workers they employ. The UKVI requires organisations to report certain changes concerning sponsored workers, and failure to do so may result in the revocation of the organisation’s sponsor licence.
Organisational changes: Sponsor licence holders must inform the UKVI within 10 days of any changes to the organisation’s name, registered address, or contact details. This includes changes in directors or other key personnel within the organisation.
By meeting these obligations, sponsor licence holders can protect their organisation and their sponsored workers from potential enforcement action by the UKVI.
Reporting organisational changes
As a sponsor licence holder, it is important to report any changes to your organisation or business within 10 days of them taking place. This includes any changes to the business address, key personnel, registered number, financial status, or management structure. In the case of insolvency, takeover, merger, or similar changes, you must inform the Home Office within 20 working days.
It is also important to update your sponsorship information on the Sponsor Management System (SMS) when necessary. It is essential that all information held on the SMS is accurate and up-to-date.
You may also be required to carry out a compliance visit if requested by the Home Office. This visit will be used to verify that your business is still operating in line with the conditions of the sponsor licence. During this visit, they will examine all documents and records associated with the sponsored workers and your organisation. The purpose of this visit is to ensure that all duties and responsibilities as a sponsor licence holder are being met.
Finally, when it comes to reporting organisational changes, you should always keep track of any communication sent to the Home Office. This will help you easily monitor the progress of your licence applications and ensure that all requirements have been met.
Change of company address
A sponsor licence holder must report any changes to their registered company address within 10 working days of the change taking place. If your organisation has an office in the UK, you must also update Companies House and notify the Home Office of the change in address within 10 working days.
The Home Office will need to know your new business address, including all full addresses and postcodes of every site where sponsored employees will be based. Your organisation must also make sure that all sponsored workers are aware of their new business address and all related changes.
To update your sponsor licence information, log into the Sponsor Management System (SMS) using your unique username and password. Once logged in, go to the ‘Manage Sponsorship’ tab and select ‘Change of Organisation Address’. You will then need to enter the new address and provide evidence of the change in address.
It is important to note that if you fail to update your organisation’s address with the Home Office, you may be at risk of losing your sponsor licence or receiving a civil penalty. Additionally, if your organisation fails to meet other duties, such as employing a minimum number of sponsored workers or failing to monitor sponsored employees, it may be subject to enforcement action.
Change of key personnel
When a company is granted a sponsor licence, they must report any changes in their key personnel to UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI). Key personnel are those individuals who manage the company’s sponsorship activities, such as their Authorising Officer and Human Resources Manager. Changes must be reported within 10 working days.
The changes which must be reported to UKVI include:
- Appointment of a new Authorising Officer or Human Resources Manager
- Death of a key personnel
- Departure of a key personnel from the company
- Change in the role or responsibilities of a key personnel
In addition to notifying UKVI of changes in key personnel, companies must also provide evidence that the new key personnel meets the required standards for the role. This includes providing information on qualifications and work experience, as well as references from current or former employers.
Failure to notify UKVI of changes in key personnel can result in civil penalties and fines, or revocation of the sponsor licence. Companies should ensure they keep up-to-date records of their key personnel and report any changes promptly.
Opening or closing a UK branch
If a sponsor licence holder is opening or closing a UK branch, they must report this change to the Home Office within 10 working days. The changes that must be reported include details about the company, the branch, and any changes to the sponsor licence itself.
For example, when opening a new branch, sponsors must provide details such as the business name, address of the branch, type of business activity taking place at the branch, and any other contact information. If there are any changes to the sponsor licence, such as a change in the number of staff employed or the roles of sponsored workers, these must also be reported.
When closing a branch, sponsors must provide the same details but indicate that the branch is closing and provide a reason for the closure.
It is important to remember that sponsors must also notify their sponsored workers if they are closing a UK branch. This must be done as soon as possible and is likely to be a difficult and emotional process. Sponsors should be sensitive to the impact that branch closure may have on sponsored workers and offer whatever support they can during this time.
Appointing key personnel
Key personnel must have the necessary qualifications and experience to fulfill their role and be able to provide evidence of this. They must also demonstrate that they are capable of making decisions in relation to sponsorship and comply with all relevant UK laws. As well as this, key personnel must be up to date with immigration rules and regulations, particularly those relating to sponsoring migrant workers.
When appointing key personnel, sponsors should take into account the length of time they will remain in the position and how this could impact their ability to carry out the responsibilities of their role. Sponsors must also ensure that any new key personnel are suitable to act in this capacity and not put the sponsor’s licence at risk.
Sponsors should also take into account the changes in personnel within their organisation and update the Home Office accordingly. When submitting an application for a new key personnel member, sponsors must provide documentary evidence such as a CV and supporting documents showing they are qualified and experienced to take on the role.
Failure to adhere to these requirements or to report changes to key personnel may result in revocation of a sponsor licence. It is therefore important for sponsors to be aware of their duties and responsibilities when appointing key personnel and ensure they comply with all relevant legislation.
Duties and responsibilities of key personnel
Key personnel are an integral part of a sponsor licence holder’s obligations and responsibilities. Depending on the type of sponsorship, these roles may include a sponsor licence holder, authorised signatory, authorised representative or key contact.
The Sponsor Management System (SMS) defines key personnel as “those individuals who have responsibility for, or oversight of, the management of sponsored workers and/or the organisation’s immigration compliance”.
Sponsor licence holders must ensure that key personnel understand their responsibilities and comply with the law. The Home Office can take action against key personnel if they fail to meet their duties, even if the licence holder is not responsible for the actions taken.
The Home Office states that sponsor licence holders must make sure that:
- Key personnel meet the relevant ‘fit and proper’ person criteria
- Key personnel understand their legal responsibilities under the Immigration Rules
- All sponsor duties and reporting requirements are met in a timely manner
- The SMS and other systems are kept up to date with changes in staff and other relevant information
- The licensee ensures that any change of key personnel is reported within 10 working days
- All necessary recruitment checks are completed when recruiting staff
- The licensee provides appropriate training and support to key personnel to ensure they understand their responsibilities
By making sure that key personnel understand and comply with their responsibilities, sponsor licence holders can ensure that they meet their obligations to the Home Office and remain compliant with UK immigration laws.
Facing inspections and audits
As a sponsor licence holder, you may be subject to periodic inspections and audits. During these inspections, a Home Office inspector will assess the way you are managing your sponsored workers, including the accuracy of your reporting, your compliance with UK immigration law and any wider regulations.
The inspector will typically review documents, such as records of sponsorship activities and visits to the premises of your sponsored workers. It is important to ensure that all relevant documents are available and up-to-date.
The Home Office may also request additional information during an inspection, such as employee records and details of the training provided to your sponsored workers. You must respond promptly to any requests for additional information and cooperate fully with the inspector.
If an inspector finds evidence of non-compliance or other failings, they may issue a warning notice or revoke your licence. Therefore, you must remain compliant with all sponsor duties and responsibilities at all times.
When holding a sponsor licence, employers must prepare for and expect compliance visits from the Home Office. These visits are designed to ensure the employer is compliant with all sponsorship duties and requirements, and any non-compliance will be noted. Employers should always keep comprehensive records of their compliance with their duties, which can be shared with the Home Office during a compliance visit.
During a compliance visit, the Home Office may review the employer’s licence application, records of sponsored worker activity, as well as the sponsorship agreement. The Home Office may also question sponsored workers about their rights and responsibilities under the UK’s immigration laws and other employment laws. The employer should be prepared to demonstrate that they are compliant with all legal obligations, such as the requirement to provide proper working conditions and pay minimum wage, among others.
If the Home Office finds that an employer is not compliant with their duties or has not kept accurate records of their sponsored worker activities, the employer could face revocation of their sponsor licence and other penalties. Therefore, it is important that employers take all measures necessary to ensure compliance with all sponsorship duties. This includes keeping accurate records, making sure sponsored workers understand their rights and responsibilities, and informing the Home Office of any changes in sponsorship information.
CGM is a corporate immigration application for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Feel free to contact us on 0300 000 000 or send us an email if you have any questions.
Insolvency procedures, mergers, takeovers, and similar changes
Any changes to the structure of your organization such as a merger, takeover, insolvency procedure, or any other kind of corporate restructuring must be reported to the Home Office within 10 days. This includes the appointment of an administrator, receiver, or liquidator and the sale of a company’s business or assets.
It is important to understand that any changes to the sponsor license itself, or to the organization’s contact details, must also be reported. The same applies to changes in ownership or any changes to the individuals listed on the sponsor license application as key personnel.
Furthermore, if you are considering not renewing your sponsor license, it is important to notify the Home Office in writing within 15 days of the expiry date of your current license. If the Home Office is not informed within this period, then you will be required to pay a fee for a new license.
Finally, the SMS should only be used when reporting changes to sponsored workers. It should not be used for any changes related to the organization itself. In these cases, an email should be sent to your assigned caseworker at the Home Office instead.
How to report changes to your organization
Sponsor license holders must report any changes in their organization to the Home Office as soon as possible. There are several ways to do this, depending on the type of change that needs to be reported.
- Reporting Changes to Your Organisation Online:
If your organisation has an established account with the Home Office you will be able to log into it and update your organisation’s details online. This includes changes such as a change of company address, opening or closing a UK branch, appointing key personnel, or changes to key personnel.
- Submitting Paper Applications:
If you do not have an online account, you can submit a paper application form to the Home Office to report any changes to your organisation. You can find the relevant forms on the Home Office website.
- Using the SMS:
The Sponsor Management System (SMS) is a secure online system which allows sponsors to manage their sponsorship duties and responsibilities. The SMS enables sponsors to report organisational changes such as changes to key personnel and changes in company address.
- Other Changes:
For other changes, such as insolvency procedures, mergers, takeovers, and similar changes, sponsors must contact the Home Office for advice on how best to proceed.
It is important to remember that sponsor licence holders have a legal obligation to keep the Home Office informed of any changes within their organisation, and failure to do so could result in revocation of their licence or other penalties.
What to do if you do not wish to renew your license
If you decide not to renew your sponsor licence, you must contact the Home Office as soon as possible and inform them of your decision. The Home Office will then take action to revoke your licence.
Once you have notified the Home Office, you must cancel all of the certificates of sponsorship that you have issued to sponsored workers and return them to the Home Office. You must also contact all sponsored workers who are still employed by you and inform them that their employment will end when their visas expire.
When your licence is revoked, you will no longer be able to issue certificates of sponsorship and will no longer be able to employ sponsored workers. You must make sure that you comply with any other conditions attached to your licence that are still in force.
You must also inform all of your sponsored workers of their obligation to leave the UK before the expiry date of their visas and provide them with a valid reason for their departure. Any sponsored worker who fails to leave the UK by the end date of their visa may be subject to enforcement action and possible deportation.
Finally, you must ensure that any records relating to the sponsored workers who have worked for you are stored securely and in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
When to use the SMS and when not to use it
The Sponsor Management System (SMS) is an online system used by organisations to fulfil their sponsor licence duties and responsibilities. The SMS is designed to help organisations report changes quickly and easily, manage sponsored workers’ details, and apply for a new licence or renew an existing one.
Organisations should use the SMS when:
• Making a new sponsorship application;
• Appointing or changing the Authorising Officer (AO);
• Reporting changes to any of their sponsored workers, such as change of address or job title;
• Renewing an existing sponsorship licence;
• Reporting organisational changes, such as opening or closing a UK branch or merging with another company;
• Providing key information about their sponsored workers, such as salary and qualifications; and
• Reporting any action taken against sponsored workers.
Organisations should not use the SMS if they have already applied for a sponsor licence, but have not yet received it. In this case, they should contact the Home Office directly. The SMS should also not be used to report criminal offences or breaches of immigration law. These must be reported to the Home Office separately.
As a sponsor license holder, it is important to understand and fulfill your duties and responsibilities in order to maintain your license and avoid potential consequences. This includes regularly communicating with your sponsored workers, providing support and assistance, staying up-to-date on immigration rules and regulations, and seeking legal advice when necessary. By fulfilling your sponsorship duties and responsibilities, you can ensure that your foreign workers have a positive experience in the UK and that your organization benefits from their skills and expertise.
As a sponsor licence holder, it is your responsibility to ensure that your sponsored workers are complying with UK immigration law, that you have reported any changes in a timely manner, and that you have all the necessary documents in place.
Additionally, it is important to stay up-to-date with changes to immigration laws and regulations, as well as maintain appropriate records and documents. Failing to meet sponsorship duties and responsibilities can have serious consequences, such as revocation of the sponsor licence and civil penalties and fines. By following best practices and monitoring sponsored workers regularly, sponsors can remain in compliance with UK immigration law and protect their organization from potential legal liabilities.
How we can help
CGM App is an end-to-end immigration app, designed to make the immigration and global mobility process more seamless and compliant; specifically for expats, sponsoring companies, and immigration consultants globally.
Visit cgmpartners.org.uk/register for more information.
Frequently asked questions