Penningtons frequently assists and trains corporate and education clients on compliance under Tiers 2, 4, and 5 of the Points-Based System, as well as carrying out pre-visit assessments on-site to ensure that all is in place before the Home Office conducts its own review. These audits and health checks can be conducted as part of a new sponsor licence application, a sponsor licence renewal application, in preparation for a Home Office visit, a general health check, or a third party compliance audit. It is essential that sponsors are vigilant in meeting their duties as the consequences of a finding of non-compliance can be severe.
We were recently instructed by a sponsor to carry out a third party compliance check. During our compliance check, the sponsor was unable to produce the exact evidence of the Resident Labour Market Tests (as specified in Appendix D of the current Tier 2 and 5 sponsor guidance) in relation to three of their sponsored migrants. In addition, it became apparent that the sponsor had failed to report changes to start dates as well as significant changes to salary. These issues, amongst others, would have led to a finding of non-compliance. We were able to work with both the sponsor and their advisers to ensure that the correct reports were made to the Home Office and, if requested, the sponsor could show that, although they had not kept all the information in the exact format as required by the sponsor guidance, the sponsor had nevertheless complied with the relevant Home Office requirements. Had the Home Office requested this information, and had the sponsor not been able to produce it, the Home Office may have come to the conclusion that the Resident Labour Market Tests had not actually been conducted.
During a visit, the Home Office is likely to request information and/or documents in relation to the following:
- the number of Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT) migrants currently sponsored;
- records of migrants' contact details;
- the systems in place to monitor migrants' absences;
- other branches or offices in the UK;
- other linked companies abroad;
- the number of staff and visa holders;
- salaries/overtime payments and general payroll systems;
- holidays and sickness policies;
- pre-employment Right to Work check procedures;
- systems to monitor expiry dates;
- experience and accreditation of workers checks;
- Resident Labour Market Tests carried out; and
- Tier 2 (ICT) - minimum length of employment requirement.
Please be aware that the Home Office can carry out visits to any sponsor's office on an announced or unannounced basis. In either case, a sponsor must allow the Immigration Officers to access the premises and any requested documentation. Penningtons can help your business prepare for a visit, can attend a scheduled visit as your representatives, or can assist you if a visit results in a finding of non-compliance.