The system of sponsorship requires sponsors to comply with both the law and with obligations imposed on them by the system itself. How organisations manage compliance will often depend on how the organisations are structured and how many sponsored migrants a licensed sponsor employs.
Our Tier 2 sponsor compliance team has been dealing with a number of queries over the past month. Therefore, as a reminder, we have set out some of the key areas which sponsors must comply with and report on. Failure to comply with sponsor duties and obligations can lead to action being taken against a sponsor licence.
Complying with the law
To comply with the law, sponsors must make sure that they:
- only sponsor migrants who are legally entitled to do the job and who have the right registration and/or professional accreditation, where legally required. For example, if a migrant is working as a doctor, a sponsor must make sure that it has the correct registration which allows the migrant to practise in the UK. Sponsors must keep a copy of any registration document or certificate and give this to the Home Office if requested;
- do not employ migrants where they do not have permission to do the job in question, and stop employing any migrants who, for any reason, are no longer entitled to do the job;
- do not assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) where there is no genuine vacancy or role;
- only assign a CoS to migrants whom they believe will meet the requirements of Tier 2 and where they are satisfied that they intend and are able to fill the role;
- where applicable, only assign a CoS for a role which is at or above the minimum skill level as set out in the Immigration Rules;
- comply with UK employment law, for example National Minimum Wage and paid holiday entitlement; and
- hold suitable planning permission or Local Planning Authority consent to run the type/class of business at the organisation's trading address (where this is a Local Authority requirement).
Complying with reporting obligations
Sponsors must report any sponsored migrant:
- who does not turn up to work on their first day;
- who resigns or whose employment/contract is terminated early;
- who switches immigration categories, eg marries a British national and applies to switch his or her visa status to that of a spouse;
- who is absent from work for a period of more than 10 consecutive working days without the sponsor's permission;
- who is suspected to be in breach of the conditions of his or her sponsorship or visa, although caution needs to be exercised and sponsors should seek advice where necessary to avoid any claim from the sponsored migrant;
- whose core duties change;
- whose salary level changes from the level as stated on the CoS, other than changes due to annual increases or bonuses;
- whose salary as stated on the CoS changes due to maternity, paternity, or long-term sick leave lasting one month or longer; and/or
- whose employment is affected by TUPE variations or similar arrangements (for example, where there is a merger/demerger/acquisition etc of the company).
All the above changes must be reported to the Home Office within 10 working days of the event.
Sponsors must also report the following organisational changes:
- a change in the Authorising Officer or key contact;
- if the business is involved in a merger, takeover, or de-merger, or it goes into administration;
- if the business moves premises;
- if the business stops trading for any reason (for example, the business is sold, liquidated, or a court issues a bankruptcy order against it);
- if the business ceases to have an operating or trading presence in the UK;
- changes in structure, such as adding branches or sites, or new linked entities in the UK or overseas if licensed under Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer); and
- a change in name.
Sponsors must report these changes within at least 20 working days.