Once an employer obtains a Sponsor Licence, the sponsor has an obligation to keep specific records and report certain events. The sponsor in effect will be acting on behalf of the UKVI to police employment based immigration and ensure abuse of the system is kept to a minimum.
The UKVI are routinely visiting sponsors (announced and unannounced) to ensure the obligations are met.
Sponsors need to keep specific details for each sponsored worker. Examples include:
- Copy of passport identity page and UK visa / residence permit showing ability to work for the sponsor;
- Current and historical contact details plus dates of any changes;
- Copies of pay slips (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 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
Sponsors must also report certain information about sponsored employees on the UKVI’s online Sponsorship Management System (SMS), in most cases within 10 working days of the event, for example:
- Failure to attend on the first day of work ( e.g. visa delay, change of project start date, 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). Please note: some changes in job may require 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, it has changed address or was involved in a merger).
Records and reports are extremely specific and even a small discrepancy can lead to a Sponsor having their Licence suspended or revoked.
Suspensions or revocations can lead to the UKVI issuing an ‘action plan’ that carries a charge and stops the sponsor from employing any new migrants until the action has been satisfied. Revocations result in current employees having their leave curtailed and unless they can find a new sponsor or change immigration status; leaving the UK.
Instances of visits by the UKVI are increasing. Please contact us for further information. We can assess your record keeping and reporting systems, employee files and procedures and recommend any changes that need to be made to ensure you maintain your Licence.