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Sponsor Licensing – Can The Home Office Visit You At Home?

Aug 03, 2023
Last Updated on May 21, 2024

As a licenced sponsor, in some circumstances, it may be necessary for a UKVI compliance officer to visit you at your home. In addition, UKVI may also carry out a home visit of other relevant personnel, and sponsored workers. By understanding why and when a compliance check may be carried out at a home address, you can put in place the necessary arrangements. In this article, we will explain the reasons why a UKVI compliance officer may visit you at your home.

Will UKVI carry out a compliance check at my home?

There are 4 main reasons why a UKVI pre-compliance or compliance check may be carried out at home, as follows:

Reason 1: You normally work from home

According to UKVIs guidance entitled “Workers and Temporary Workers: guidance for sponsors – Part 1: Apply for a licence”,  section L8.16 states:

“If we undertake a compliance check, we may visit you and interview you and any relevant personnel at your main office address and any other physical addresses where your sponsored workers would be carrying out their employment duties (including their home address, if they normally work from home). If we undertake a digital compliance inspection, we may interview you and any other relevant personnel using remote video conferencing facilities”.

Section L8.16 confirms that a UKVI compliance officer may ask to visit your home if you normally work from home. It is important to note that this rule applies to any other relevant personnel and sponsored workers who also normally work from home (see below for a list of relevant personnel).

Reason 2: You have no physical office

UKVI’s guidance states under section L8.17:

“If you operate a virtual business model (with little or no physical office space), it is highly likely that we will conduct a compliance check with your Authorising Officer, which may include a compliance visit to their physical address, before making a decision on your application for a licence.”

Section L8.17 confirms that an Authorising Officer of a business with no physical office premises (i.e. a virtual business model) may receive a compliance visit at home.

Reason 3: UKVI decide to carry out a digital compliance inspection

In some cases, UKVI may decide to carry out a digital (i.e. online) compliance inspection. Digital compliance checks involve a UKVI compliance officer interviewing a sponsor or applicant on an online call (e.g. Microsoft Teams). UKVI’s guidance explains that a digital compliance inspection is:

“Where we carry out a compliance check by verifying your trading presence digitally and conducting interviews with you using remote video conferencing facilities. This includes interviewing anyone coming under the general definition of ‘you’ or any of your sponsored workers and may involve you having to present evidence prior to, during or after the video conference interview.”

What is a UKVI compliance check?

During a UKVI compliance check, a UKVI compliance officer will ensure that your business is complying with its sponsor duties (see below for more details). If you are in the process of applying for a sponsor licence, UKVI may check that you are capable of meeting the duties of a sponsor (a pre-compliance visit).

There are 3 methods of UKVI compliance check, namely:

  • An onsite compliance visit
  • A digital compliance inspection
  • A review of evidence or information from our records, evidence or information you have previously submitted to UKVI

It is not just the owner or Authorising Officer of the business who may be interviewed to ensure compliance; a compliance officer may interview any relevant personnel within your organisation, including:

  • Business owner
  • Director
  • Authorising Officer
  • Key Contact
  • Level 1 User
  • Any personnel involved in the day-to-day running of your business
  • Any sponsored workers

Do you have a way to calculate the sponsor licence UK cost?

Yes! Use our calculator below to calculate your sponsor licence visa cost.

Please answer the questions and you will be able to calculate the approx cost for The sponsor licence –

What are the duties of a sponsor licence holder?

The main purpose of conducting a compliance visit is to ensure that you are adhering to (or capable of adhering to) the duties of a sponsor licence holder. The UKVI compliance officer is checking that you are (or capable of) actively:

  • Preventing abuse of the UK’s immigration laws and sponsorship system
  • Looking for possible patterns of behaviour that may cause concern
  • Addressing possible weaknesses in processes which can cause those patterns, and
  • Monitoring compliance with the Immigration Rules, sponsor guidance, and UK law (e.g. health and safety and employment law)

The duties of a sponsor licence holder are as follows:

  • Reporting– sponsoring businesses have a duty to report certain changes in circumstances using the Sponsor Management System (SMS) within a set deadline. For example, if you know or suspect a worker you are sponsoring has breached their conditions of stay, this must be reported as soon as reasonably possible. If a sponsored worker is absent from work without permission for more than 10 consecutive working days, this must be reported within 10 working days.
  • Record-keeping– sponsors are required to keep accurate and up-to-date records relating to sponsored workers. Records that must be kept are covered in “Appendix D: keeping records for sponsorship”. This includes, for each sponsored worker, details of the role, evidence of the right to work, wage information, and current and past contact details.
  • Complying with UK immigration laws– this means that you can only sponsor overseas workers with the right to work in the UK for genuine and eligible roles. Candidates must have suitable skills and qualifications. You must also meet the minimum salary requirements.
  • Complying with wider UK law – As a licenced sponsor, you must meet all wider UK laws, including employment law and health and safety laws.
  • Public good– Sponsors must not engage in behaviours or actions that are not conducive to the public good

A Y & J Solicitors is a specialist immigration law firm with extensive experience with all types of visa applications and sponsor compliance. We have an in-depth understanding of immigration law and are professional and results-focused. For assistance with your visa application or any other UK immigration law concerns, please contact us on +44 20 7404 7933 or contact us today. We’re here to help!

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A Y & J Solicitors is a multi-award winning, 14+ years experienced, recommended by Legal 500, boutique UK immigration law firm based in Central London. Having assisted 5000+ clients, we are well equipped to help you with our ‘In It To Win It’ approach. For your assurance and confidence, we are pleased to share our trust rating of 4.9/5 based on 1000+ reviews on Trustpilot & Google.

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