Sponsor Compliance- Everything you need to know

It is the obligation of the UK-based employing firm, which holds a Sponsor Licence, to prevent any illegal migrant from finding work with the company and obtaining a job in the country. For the business to remain in compliance with the Immigration and Asylum Act, it is needed to check the eligibility of each potential employee to work in the UK, as well as to obtain, keep, and preserve documentary proof of that eligibility.

What is a Sponsor Licence?

Sponsor licences enable organisations to recruit migrants from outside the UK; nevertheless, they come with a significant number of obligations for employers, some of which might be particularly onerous.

Any violation of the responsibilities associated with a sponsor licence can result in a reduction in the user rating, suspension or cancellation of the licence, and/or a civil penalty. This places the jobs of already-employed migrants in jeopardy.

Check out the list of some of the most important sponsor compliance areas:

Monitoring immigration status and preventing illegal employment

All companies are required to perform initial right-to-work checks on potential hires to verify that they have the necessary authorizations to work in the UK. You will have to show that you have the internal procedures and systems required to do these inspections.

You can determine a person’s eligibility to work by:

  • Examining the applicant’s original papers; or, if the employee has provided you with their share code, using the Home Office’s online checking tool.
  • Employers are required to review an employee’s eligibility to work if a right-to-work check reveals that the person’s authorization to live and work in the UK is temporary. These follow-up inspections are intended to stop people from overstaying their visas or working illegally.

Maintain employee data

Sponsors must maintain specific data on the sponsored personnel they employ and make sure the Home Office may easily access this data in response to a request.

You should be able to show that you have the necessary procedures in place to keep safe copies of the passports, biometric residence permits (BRPs), and visas of your personnel. All records pertaining to the immigrants you have sponsored must be preserved up to the following dates:

  • When less than a year has gone since you discontinued your sponsorship of the migrant, the compliance officer has inspected and authorised them.
  • One year has passed from the date on which your sponsorship ended.

For the term of your licence, you should save any documents you submitted with your sponsor licence application. Both physical copies and electronic versions of documents can be kept on file, but any additional legal requirements for data storage must be followed.

Keeping track and monitoring your migrant worker

You must demonstrate that your internal procedures minimise the risk of hiring a migrant who does not have the right to work in the UK in order to demonstrate that you have the necessary measures in place to monitor the immigration status of any migrant you sponsor.

You must demonstrate that you have a system in place to keep track of the expiration dates of the visas you sponsor for your employees and that you maintain accurate contact information for them in order to do this. Additionally, you should have procedures in place to ensure that the contact information you have on file for your personnel is accurate and current.

Keep records accurately

The ability to keep correct information on all of your sponsored workers is a crucial aspect of your responsibilities as a sponsor.

You must be able to show that you maintain thorough personnel files for every employee, including records of absences, salary information, and papers related to the recruitment of migrant workers. Additionally, historical information like past contact information for your staff should be retained for the appropriate amount of time.

What reporting guidelines will you implement?

Licensed sponsors are expected to use their log-in to the Home Office’s Sponsorship management system to notify the Home Office of any substantial changes to their business or the circumstances of the sponsored migrants within ten working days. A sponsor can handle daily sponsorship responsibilities and tasks, such as reporting changes to a migrant’s circumstances, using the sponsorship management system, an online application.

You must notify the Home Office when:

  • When the sponsored employee you’ve hired doesn’t show up for their first day of work and state the reason.
  • The employment of the immigrant you supported ended earlier than indicated on their Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)
  • If you have another reason, you cease supporting the immigrant.
  • Your sponsored employee misses more than 10 working days of work without justification.
  • The conditions of your sponsored employee change, for example, their pay or job title, their primary responsibilities, or their place of employment.

Sponsors can use the online Sponsorship Management System to notify these changes.

Does your company abide by UK labour law?

As a licenced sponsor, you have obligations that include abiding by all applicable UK employment laws. You must show that the sponsored immigrants will work in respectable conditions and get all job benefits to which they are legally entitled, such as vacation and sick pay. The disclosure of any additional employment terms, such as accommodations and benefits, is also required.

If the current sponsor is shown to be participating in acts that are not in the interests of the general public, the Home Office will take the necessary compliance measures. The compliance measure will be determined by the seriousness of the behaviour or conduct.

It is advised that everyone, regardless of origin or nationality, undergoes screening in order to prevent any claims of discrimination. If it is discovered that a Sponsor Licence holder is hiring someone who is not authorised to perform the required task, they may be subject to a civil penalty of up to £20,000. Employing an illegal worker with knowledge is a crime for which you risk a huge fine and up to two years in jail.

Our team of immigration specialists at A Y & J Solicitors frequently assists businesses with conducting mock audits to pinpoint areas for improvement in relation to the administration of your sponsor licence. Please get in touch with our knowledgeable immigration lawyers for more information about our services.