What are Sponsor Compliance Visits and how to prepare?
The Home Office can undertake a sponsor compliance visit in order to assess an organisation once a sponsor licence application has been submitted.
They may also visit the organisation, once a sponsor licence has been granted in order to ensure that the organisation is maintaining its sponsorship duties. The Home Office may also wish to visit if there is a change in circumstances may also warrant a Home Office such as, a change of the company address, takeovers, mergers, TUPE transfers or establishing a UK or overseas branch.
Compliance visits can be an announced or unannounced visit. You must allow Home Office staff to enter and access any premises or sites under your control on demand. If you refuse to allow them entry it’s likely to result in your sponsor licence being refused or revoked.
What is a pre-licence assessment visit?
The Home Office may visit an organisation before making a decision on your application for a sponsor licence. The Home Office may check some of the following during a visit:
- Whether there is a genuine need for a sponsor licence.
- Whether current employees’ right to work documents are valid.
- Whether you are able to offer Tier 2 employment at the correct pay and skill level.
- Whether the number of migrants sponsored will be proportionate to the size and nature of the business.
- Whether you have a satisfactory system in place to carry out your sponsorship duties.
- Any other matters that the Officer may feel needs further investigation.
What can you expect from a sponsor compliance visit?
The purpose of the compliance visit is to check whether you are capable of complying with your duties and responsibilities as a sponsor. Usually, the visit may take 2-3 hours. The Office may check the following:
- Whether sponsored migrants are filling a job vacancy at graduate level unless there is a skill level exemption.
- Whether you are keeping the required records to fulfil your sponsorship duties.
- Whether you are paying the migrant at least the minimum appropriate salary rate.
- Whether you are allocating the correct Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) and whether the original number of CoS you requested is still justified.
- Whether the information you provided in your sponsor licence application is accurate.
- Whether any migrant is complying with the conditions of their leave to remain in the UK.
- You are not a threat to immigration control
Will the Home Office interview staff during a sponsor compliance visit?
Home Office staff may request an interview with a Sponsor. If they do, then you must cooperate with the Home Office. The Home Office may also request to interview a migrant worker during the visit to check whether the migrant is working and paid in line with the conditions attached to their leave.
What happens after the sponsor compliance visit?
After a Home Office visit, a report will be completed, and a recommendation will be provided by the Officer. A decision will be made as to whether you would be rated an A or B sponsor.
If you have been downgraded to a B-rating, you will need to follow an action plan. Your sponsor licence may also be revoked or suspended if there is a significant breach of your sponsorship duties. This may also occur if the Home Office considers that you pose a threat to immigration control.
The material contained on this website contains general information only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon as such. While every care has been taken in the preparation of the information on this site, readers are advised to seek specific legal advice in relation to any decision or course of action.