As a licensed sponsor, the Home Office considers that you will benefit directly from migration and as such you expected to play your part in ensuring that the immigration system is not abused. Once you are a licenced sponsor you are expected to comply with your sponsor duties and in addition you have a responsibility for each migrant you have sponsored.
Suspension of Sponsor Licence
The Home Office have the power to suspend a business Sponsor’s Licence if they believe the organisation or key personnel are breaching their duties and pose a threat to immigration control. In these circumstances, the Home Office will suspend the licence temporarily whilst they make further enquiries and the name of the sponsor will be removed from the Home Office’s register for Sponsors. Business sponsors facing a suspension will be informed by way of a letter from UKVI and you may be given the opportunity to make representations as to why your licence should not be revoked.
Revoking a Sponsor Licence
In certain circumstances, the Home Office may make the decision to revoke your Sponsor Licence; your licence could be revoked straight away or the Home Office may give you the opportunity to make representations as to why it should not be revoked.
Our business immigration solicitors regularly consult with organisations that are confident that they have complied with their sponsor duties and have followed the Home Office’s strict procedures in employing migrant workers.
Immediate Revocation of Sponsor Licence
The following are some of the reasons for the Home Office to revoke your Sponsor Licence straight away:
- You are found to have provided false information in support of your Sponsor Licence application;
- Your business has run into difficulty such as it has gone into liquidation or you have a bankruptcy order against you;
- Your business is sold or you cease to have an operating/trading presence in the UK; or
- You have been issued with the maximum civil penalty for an illegal worker.
In these circumstances, you will not be granted a right of appeal and your only remedy may be to judicially review the Home Office’s decision. Crucially, any migrant workers employed by your organisation will find that their leave is reduced to 60 days and it is advisable that they consult an expert immigration lawyer for advice as to their options.
Temporary Revocation of a Sponsor Licence
The following are some examples of when the Home Office may make the decision to revoke a Sponsor Licence but may give the business the opportunity to make submissions against this decision:
- Your Sponsor Licence application was prepared by an OISC firm whose authorisation was subsequently removed;
- You fail to pay migrant workers the appropriate salary;
- You fail to provide documents required by the Home Office to evidence you are complying with your Sponsor Licence duties;
- You pay a migrant sponsored worker in cash;
- You fail to co-operate with UKVI compliance visits; and
- You are found to sponsor a migrant who has not complied with the conditions of their permission to stay in the UK and you did not follow good practice set out by the Home Office.
Our business immigration lawyers are aware that the above list is not exhaustive and regularly consult with businesses that face revocation for other reasons. On these occasions, our specialist immigration team have been instructed to prepare detailed representations in favour of businesses which feel they have complied with their duties and should not have their Sponsor Licences revoked.
Downgrading a Sponsor Licence (B-rating)
In some situations, the Home Office may downgrade sponsor licences to a B-rating. In our experience these could be when UKVI compliance officers are not satisfied that the business is using the correct procedure to comply with its sponsor duties or when a business has not complied with UKVI’s request for information/documents within the time frame.
Commonly, if you are a business which the Home Office wishes to investigate, you will be sent a letter by UKVI in which you are informed of the action which will be taken and you will be afforded the opportunity to make written submissions as to why you should maintain an A-rating or how you intend to change your processes and procedures to ensure that you will maintain an A-rating.
Our business immigration lawyers are regularly instructed to make submissions with supporting evidence to demonstrate that the organisation had robust processes and procedures in place and sponsor duties were being complied with. It is important to be aware of the Home Office’s expectations so you are able to maintain a reputation of being an A-rated sponsor.
We are a UK law firm based in Middle Temple, London and our solicitors are fully authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Contact our professional business immigration team today and we can offer you a consultation in person or via telephone or Skype so we can explore your options. You can leave us a message on our Contact Form or give us a call on 02071830570.