If you are an employer wishing to hire skilled migrant workers, you will need a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence before you employ non-EEA national.
Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holders must operate according to all Home Office guidelines. Failure to do so may result in suspension or revocation of your Tier 2 Sponsor License. If this happens, and you are unsuccessful in addressing the issues raised by the Home Office, you will lose your license and ability to hire skilled migrant workers. You may also be faced with fines, court action, and criminal charges if you continue to employ non-EU skilled workers. In addition, the non-EEA nationals who work for you may be forced to return home if they cannot gain employment with another Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder.
There are two ways that UKVI may uncover noncompliance with sponsor duties:
A Y & J Solicitors have a ‘YouTube’ video specifically focused on Sponsor Licence compliance. You can also visit the gov.uk site for Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holders to see detailed information.
In general, each Sponsor Licence holder is responsible for the following:
Although this may seem overwhelming initially, you must set up robust HR systems to track and record information. Once these systems are in place, it is simply a matter of keeping information current and reporting concerns or changes. Another alternative is to instruct an immigration solicitor to manage your Sponsor Licence compliance duties on your behalf. They can provide proper advice so you can ensure all the required information is entered into the Sponsor Licence Management system. By managing your compliance requirements in this way, you can also be confident that any changes in the Immigration Rules and/or guidance will be noticed and adhered to.
You’re not alone. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) is becoming increasingly avaricious in its attempts to catch companies in breach of their Sponsor Licence duties and responsibilities, and as a result, the rate of licence suspension/revocation is increasing. For example, on 23rd November 2017, it was reported that immigration officers in Barrow, Dalton and Askam raided three takeaways – one for the second time in just three months – and arrested four people found to be working illegally. Each business is now facing revocation of their Sponsor Licence and a £20,000 fine.
If you receive a letter from the Home Office stating your Sponsor Licence is being suspended or revoked, firstly, read it carefully. Be sure you understand what your violations are and the steps UKVI wishes you to take to rectify them. If you are unclear about anything in the letter, immediately contact an immigration lawyer for help. They will not only assist you with understanding the facts of the letter, but they can also audit your HR systems, swiftly identifying any weaknesses and put together an action plan for improvement.
Second, get to work preparing representations or a Letter Before Claim in response to UKVI allegations. You must address each concern UKVI has listed, and include any documents and evidence to support your position. The time permitted for this is short, so quick action is important. A Tier 2 immigration lawyer can provide the best approach for successful representations, ensuring they are drafted correctly, with all the relevant information included.
Once you’ve submitted your representations or Letter Before Claim, UKVI will respond with either a decision to re-instate, downgrade or revoke the sponsor licence. We’ve discovered that companies which provide a solid, valid representation or Letter Before Claim are in the best position for the reinstatement of their licence.
When it comes to Tier 2 Sponsor Licence suspensions and/or revocation, preventing such action being taken against you by UKVI is always better and more cost-effective than having to fight to retain your licence.
It is a good idea to have a bi-annual mock audit of your HR systems to ensure your organisation is fully compliant with the Sponsor Licence holders’ duties and responsibilities. In addition, an immigration solicitor who performs the audit will inform you of any changes to the Immigration Rules which may affect your company and advise you on the actions to take to ensure compliance.
A Y & J Solicitors are here to help you. As Tier 2 Sponsor Licence experts, we understand every detail of the programme. We regularly work with companies to prepare for HR staff for audits, submit representations or a Letter Before Claim to the Home Office, and have suspension or revocation decisions overturned. We understand how important the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence is to your business, and we can work with you to protect it and hence provide you peace of mind.
Disclaimer: No material/information provided on this website should be construed as legal advice. Readers should seek an appropriate professional advice for their immigration matters.