HM Government’s guidance notes which set out the terms by which an organisation may have their Tier 2 Sponsor Licence revoked or suspended insist that the decision to revoke or suspend rests on the UKBA’s belief that a breach of as sponsor’s duties has been committed. With no formal right to appeal, critics have suggested that removal or suspension of Tier 2 sponsorship status on this basis is in danger of being applied arbitrarily and – potentially – unreasonably.
Given that the effects of an organisation having their Tier 2 Sponsor Licence revoked or suspended can have drastic effects for the workers involved, it is vital that such decisions are made on the basis of robust evidence. Workers affected have only 60 days to find an alternative sponsor if their original sponsor has their licence revoked otherwise they are obliged to leave the UK.
The recent case of at Buckinghamshire New University has raised concerns about what some see as the overly secretive and often arbitrary decision-making processes that the Home Office employs. In particular, it has been suggested that evidence of shortcoming in relation to Tier 4 sponsorship offences led – seemingly automatically – to the Buckinghamshire New University having their Tier 2 Sponsor Licence revoked as well. The legal merits of such a ‘knock-on’ Tier 2 licence revocation appear open to challenge.
The one glimmer of hope in this scenario is that a legal challenge – led by YDVISAS – to the lawful and reasonable merits of the decision-making process that led to the revocation of a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence has set a notable precedent.
With politicians exerting greater pressure on UK Border Agency and Home Office staff to ‘tighten up’ on the volume of non-EU migrant applications, and their workload increasing accordingly, the scope for such judicial challenges to having a Tier 2 Licence revoked is likely to increase. Needless to say, mounting such a challenge is not something that should be undertaken without informed and fully qualified professional legal advice.