Sponsor compliance

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As a sponsor there is an obligation to keep specific records and report certain events to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). In effect the sponsor will be acting on behalf of the UKVI to police employment based immigration and ensure minimum abuse of the system.

Visits from the UKVI should be both expected and welcomed by sponsors. These are both announced and unannounced and help to ensure sponsor obligations are being met.

Here’s some examples of the records and reporting responsibilities of a sponsor;

Record keeping:

  • Copy of the passport identity page and the UK visa/residency permit showing the ability to work for the sponsor,
  • Current and historical contact details, as well as the dates of any changes,
  • Copies of pay slips. This is to show the worker is being paid at least the rate shown on their Certificate of Sponsorship),
  • Contracts of employment giving details of the job to be performed in the UK,
  • Any ‘market test’ documents such as copies of advertising and responses to the advertising campaigns (where the vacancy had to be advertised as part of the sponsorship process),
  • Copies of degree certificates and professional accreditations (where necessary),
  • Attendance/absences from work.

Reporting:

Sponsors must also report certain information about sponsored employees through the UKVI’s online Sponsorship Management System (SMS), usually within 10 working days of the event, for example:

  • Failure to attend the first day of work (for example visa delay, a change to the project start date or a flight change),
  • Unexplained absences of ten working days or more, or unpaid leave of one month or more,
  • If employment ends either through termination or resignation or an employee otherwise stops being sponsored,
  • If there are significant changes in an employee’s circumstances, such as a change of job or salary (this does not include normal annual salary increases). It’s important to note that some changes in job may actually require a fresh sponsorship,
  • If the employer suspects a migrant is breaching the conditions of their leave,
  • There are significant changes in the sponsor’s circumstances (for example, is has changed address or was involved in a merger).

It is incredibly important that records and reports are kept extremely specific, as even a slight discrepancy can lead to a Sponsor having their licence suspended or revoked.

Once an suspension or revocation has been initiated by the UKVI, it can lead to them issuing an ‘action plan’. This carries a charge and effectively stops the Sponsor from employing any new migrants until the action plan has been satisfied. Revocations result in current employees having their leave curtailed and unless they can find a new sponsor or change immigration status they will be required to leave the UK.

Record keeping and reporting systems, employee files and procedures need to be on point at all times. We can help analyse your current systems and help improve them to negate any potential suspensions or revocation from the UKVI. Get in touch today to see how we can help your business.

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