When applying for, and upon obtaining, a Tier 2, Tier 4, and/or Tier 5 sponsor licence from the Home Office, sponsors are required to comply with sponsor duties. These include:

  • keeping records in place;
  • complying with the Immigration Rules and the law in general;
  • monitoring migrant activities; and
  • reporting any changes in migrant or sponsor circumstances to the Home Office.

If the Home Office finds that a sponsor is non-compliant in any way, it could take action against the sponsor. Such actions, which can include revoking the sponsor's licence, can have a severe impact not only on the sponsor, but also on any sponsored migrants.

The guidelines on the specific duties which must be met are listed in the Home Office's sponsor guidance.

We recently advised a Tier 2 sponsor whose licence had been suspended for reasons including:

  • allowing migrant workers to take unpaid leave for a period of more than one month in a given year for reasons outside the exceptions in paragraph 222 of the Tier 2 and 5 sponsors guidance, ie maternity, paternity, adoption, or long-term sick leave;
  • failing to report migrants who did not start work on the first day of work, eg where migrants either came in at a later date or did not attend work at all; and
  • reporting migrants much later than within the required ten working days of a migrant leaving the sponsor.

The Home Office expects sponsors to update them on the whereabouts of all migrants to whom they assign Certificates of Sponsorship. Additionally, reports must be made promptly and as required by the guidance, within ten working days, in order to allow the Home Office to take enforcement action against a migrant, if required.