Compliance Audit Finds Critical Issues Before Sponsor Licence Renewal
Obtaining a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence is one thing, but maintaining the licence it is complex and challenging. Our client ‘UG’ is a technology solution provider. They provide reliable and professional IT services to their clients. Due to the nature of their business and a shortage of skilled IT staff in the UK, they require more skilled sponsored workers in their business.
We understood from their director the importance of maintaining the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence for the company, and as a result we were instructed to assist with the renewal of their Sponsor Licence renewal process.
Companies Requiring NON-EU Skilled Workers Struggle in Sponsor Licence Compliance
It was important to confirm that the company was fully compliant with their sponsorship duties to ensure smooth and continuous maintenance of their Tier 2 Sponsor Licence. This is the only way they could retain their NON-EU skilled sponsored workforce.
One of our experienced and Senior Immigration caseworkers visited their office to conduct a Sponsor Licence Compliance Audit. Prior to our visit, we sent them bespoke, ready-made templates to follow to meet their sponsorship duties.
Compliance Audit Reveals Common Sponsor Licence Non-Compliance Issues for IT Companies
It is our experience that most companies holding Tier 2 Sponsor Licence believe themselves to be compliant with their sponsorship duties, but they are not for the following common reasons:
- Authorising Officers (AO) must keep their email private and confidential. That means a very busy Authorising Officer who might be a Director/CEO cannot have their PA checking their emails. This may seem unreasonable, but it is one of the requirements of being compliant with sponsorship duties
- You must report on any late start of your sponsored workers including even a one-day late start for any reason.
- You must keep historical contact details of your sponsored workers throughout their employment with you.
These are just a few common breaches we normally come across while conducting a Sponsor Licence Compliance Audit. Therefore, when we visited ‘UG’, they believed themselves to be compliant with their Sponsorship duties, but we were not surprised to discover many gaps in their Tier 2 compliance.
We first checked how the sponsor monitored immigration status and checked for illegal employment for their employees. We discovered that the sponsor did not run through an employment checking service for a visa national employee whose visa application was pending with the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) at the time of our visit. This was clearly in breach of their sponsorship duties.
Further, the sponsor failed to keep records of the relevant work experience and relevant qualifications of their sponsored workers to justify that they qualified for their job role. There was no doubt of the genuineness of the employment and skill set of the sponsored workers, but it is a mandatory requirement for the sponsor to retain this evidence.
Last but not least, at our visit the sponsor clearly failed to understand the document/information evidence they must keep to not fall foul of supplying labour.
Last but not least, at our visit the sponsor clearly failed to understand the document/information evidence they must keep to not fall foul of supplying labour. It is a norm in the IT industry for sponsored workers to visit client site to deliver projects. However, most IT companies with sponsored workers fail to keep/meet the relevant requirements of sponsorship duties in these circumstances. We advised ‘UG’ how and what document/information to keep at hand to comply with their sponsorship duties while sponsored workers are working at the client site. We also advised on the required terms of contracts for each client. Failure to have a proper client contract in place may attract potential suspension of their Tier 2 Sponsor Licence.
Regular Compliance Audits Ensure Hassle-Free Sponsor Licence Renewal
At the end of our Sponsor Licence Compliance Audit, we provided a 27-point recommendation report for ‘UG’ to implement. They were satisfied and happy with the outcome of our Sponsor Licence Compliance Audit. We are now invited every six months to carry out a routine Sponsor Licence Compliance Audits for them to ensure their continued compliance with their sponsorship duties. They have recently renewed their Tier 2 Sponsor Licence without any hassle.
I found A Y & J Solicitors incredibly helpful in advising what evidence and information we had to gather for the Home Office and am delighted to say we have had our Grade-A sponsor licence reinstated