UK businesses can be visited by Immigration Officers at any time to review whether a Tier 2 sponsor is meetings its sponsor obligations and/or carrying out prevention of illegal working checks correctly.
By way of reminder all businesses must ensure that they have the records and procedures in place to both comply with prevention of illegal working checks and where applicable their sponsor duties.
Our compliance team has seen an increased level of requests for sponsor compliance checks and prevention of illegal working audits as more unannounced visits are carried out by the UKVI. The most common issue we have come across is where it transpired the existing employee no longer had permission to work in the UK and the check was not done before the start date leaving the employer exposed to a civil penalty.
Non-compliance could lead to heavy fines, prosecution or suspension/revocation of the sponsorship licence. Even a short-term downgrading of the licence can cause reputational damage, add extra costs to the organisation, and delay any further plans for hiring or transferring migrant workers to the UK.