When an organisation obtains a sponsor licence it must comply with a number of duties and responsibilities to the Home Office. When it applies for the licence it is declaring that it is capable of complying with all of these. The consequences of failing to comply with the duties can be serious, including the licence being revoked, with a cooling-off period of 12 months imposed before it can apply for a fresh licence, and the leave of existing sponsored employees being curtailed.
It is open to the Home Office to visit an applicant organisation to review whether, and to what extent, it will be able to meet these duties and responsibilities. It will also check its own records of previous dealings with the organisation such as under the work permit scheme. The Home Office has a rating system to determine whether a licence can be granted. Visiting officers will want to see how relevant HR systems work in practice. All relevant files and other records must be made accessible to them
After a sponsor licence has been granted it can be easy for sponsors to forget or de-prioritise their duties, or for relevant people to leave or change role. It is important that an organisation carries out internal audits to ensure it remains fully compliant. As the sponsor will remain liable for any breaches, it must fully understand its duties and responsibilities and how it is going to comply. In addition, the Sponsor Guidance and related guidance change regularly and the organisation must keep abreast of these changes. When there are changes to policy, these are also notified to sponsors via the Sponsor Management System (SMS) message board.
We can assist in providing organisations with Mock Audits to ensure that sponsors remain fully compliant. Please contact us for more information on +44 20 8895 6626