Get your house in order… Avoiding the threat of revocation
Published 19 March 2015
We are hearing increasing reports of UK Visas and Immigration scrutiny and enforcement action against organisations who fail to comply with sponsorship licence requirements. Organisations face serious consequences, including the revocation of their licence, in cases where the UKVI finds breaches of reporting and recording requirements.
It is therefore important not to overlook what may appear to be merely administrative obligations that come hand in hand with signing up to and holding a sponsorship licence.
Also seemingly unrelated changes within your organisation such as group restructures, re-organisations or changes to personnel can give rise to a requirement to amend the information held on the SMS and in some cases can mean applying for a whole new licence.
As a licence holder you must report any significant changes in the organisation to UKVI within 10 working days, for example if your organisation (or potentially part of it):
- stops trading or becomes insolvent;
- substantially change the nature of your business;
- are involved in a merger or take-over (for example if there is change in the legal entity)
You must also tell UKVI if you are:
- changing your Company information for example your head office address; or
- changing your key personnel for example if your Level One User or Authorising Officer leaves the organisation. You also must have an Authorising Officer at all times.
Your licence can also be revoked if the UKVI establish that log in details or passwords for the Sponsorship Management System have been shared.
UKVI licence revocations are effective across all tiers, categories and subcategories you may hold. All sponsored employees have to be dismissed with immediate effect with inevitable exposure to the risk of employment tribunal claims. In most cases you would then be unable to reapply for a licence for 6 months. Even if you are able to make a successful application under the name of a new company within the group, this could also be made subject to restrictions which curtail your ability to sponsor migrants.
The accurate management of a sponsorship licence remains a complex process. Despite having systems in place, sponsors can find themselves in breach of what they consider to be administrative requirements but which are actually reporting and recording duties under the sponsorship licence. This then puts at risk their ability to sponsor existing employees and new recruits.
At DAC Beachcroft LLP our specialist immigration unit can support you in ensuring that your licence is compliant through carrying out audits, training, and health checks. Please contact us for more details.
You may also be interested in our upcoming event Spring Cleaning Your Right to Work Procedures, further information and how to register can be found here.