Employers with sponsorship licenses should make sure they are familiar with changes to the process brought into force on 6 April 2017. In particular, there is an important, and perhaps overlooked, point for employers who allow their sponsored workers to out any of their employment duties at a third party’s site.

The key points

Some of the changes are buried deep in the 207 pages of the ‘Tiers 2 and 5: Guidance for sponsors’ document, so we have summarised the key points here:

  • UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has the legal power to visit unannounced and at any time to conduct checks to ensure that the employer is complying with sponsor duties
  • This includes checks at any physical addresses where sponsored employees carry out their employment duties
  • If access to a third party’s site is deemed necessary by UKVI (either at application stage or later as part of compliance checks), UKVI would need to see evidence of arrangements between the sponsor and the third party that would ensure full cooperation by the third party
  • If migrant workers perform their employment duties at a third party’s office, it is the sponsor’s responsibility to ensure that the third party is aware of the possibility of unplanned and unannounced visits and checks being conducted at their premises and ensure their full cooperation

What does this mean for sponsors?

Sponsoring employers should take immediate steps to ensure continued compliance with the sponsorship guidance and thus not jeopardise their licence. This should include:

  • Telling third parties that UKVI may make an unannounced visit to the premise and that they must co-operate with the inspection
  • Keeping records (by both the sponsor and third party) of arrangements between them about the sponsored worker carrying out duties at the third party premises
  • Ensuring that the third party does not allow the sponsored worker to carry out duties that are beyond the Certificate of Sponsorship