6 August 2018

Sponsor License duties to ensure compliance with UKVI

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Making an application to obtain a sponsor licence to sponsor NON-EU migrants can be very hectic and complicated. In addition to the documents required to successfully obtain a Tier 2 licence, there are certain roles that need to be assigned when the application is made. In this blog, I would like to specifically highlight these certain key roles with an aim to make it easy for the applicants to identify suitable persons for these roles in their organisation. 

Sponsor License duties to ensure compliance with UKVI

Once a sponsor license is granted, you will be given access to use the sponsorship management system (SMS). The UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) online portal that lets you carry out day to day activities and report any changes to Home Office, such as a change of address.

The sponsor license application requires certain responsibilities to be assigned to the members of the staff, to whom you can give access to the SMS system. These are called key personnel and there are 4 roles, which are:

Authorising Officer

The person you nominate for this role must be your most senior person responsible for the recruitment of all migrant workers and ensuring that all of your sponsor duties are met. If you do not recruit the migrants you sponsor, this role must be filled by the most senior person responsible for your actions as a licensed sponsor.

Key Contact

The key contact is usually the person who acts as the main contact between the UKVI and you. UKVI will contact them if they have any queries about your sponsor licence application, the documents sent or the payment.

Level 1 User

The level 1 user can be the authorising officer or another person in your organisation. The level 1 user must carry out your day-to-day sponsorship activities using the SMS.

Level 2 User

Level 2 users have fewer permissions than level 1 users. Level 2 users can perform the following actions in SMS

  • assign CoS to workers
  • report worker activity to us, for example, inform us if a worker goes missing or does not come to work

Record Keeping Duties

As a licensed sponsor, you must keep the accurate records or documents for migrant employers. Some documents may need to be kept for longer periods to satisfy other relevant regulatory authorities to avoid civil penalties on illegal employment. All documents must be kept for whichever is the shorter period of either:

  • one year from the date you end your sponsorship of the migrant
  • if the migrant is no longer sponsored by you, the point at which a compliance officer has examined and approved them

The documents you must keep either electronically or photocopy are;

  • Passport copy of migrant’s passport, including personal detail pages, leave stamps, previous visas
  • Biometric residence permits
  • NI numbers
  • Current and previous contact details, including phone, email, addresses
  • DBS check if relevant
  • Record of absences
  • Contract of employment
  • Degree certificate if the migrant has switched from Tier 4

Resident Labour Market Test

If a resident labour market test was carried out by an employer, they must also keep a copy of;

  • A copy of the contents of the job advert which must include the job title, the location of the job, the main duties and responsibilities of the job which must include the skills, qualifications and experience needed, an indication of the salary package or salary range and the closing date for applications
  • Documents that demonstrate a genuine rolling recruitment programme and available positions in an organisation
  • A detailed recruitment process that took place including;
  • Applications, CV’s and details of applicants who applied through either portal, email, mail or mediums described in Job adverts
  • Details of shortlisted candidates and notes from final interviews conducted
  • Detailed reasons for rejection of applicant’s
  • Copies of the migrant’s payslips, clearly showing the name, NI number, tax code, any allowances paid, and deductions made.

Reporting Duties

As a sponsor you must also report through sponsor management systems in case of migrant’s non-attendance, non-compliance or disappearance to comply with reporting duties.

  • if a sponsored migrant does not turn up for their first day of work
  • if a sponsored migrant’s contract of, or for employment, or services or registration is terminated earlier than shown on their certificate of sponsorship (CoS)
  • If a sponsored migrant is absent from work for more than 10 consecutive working days without permission
  • If there are any significant changes in your own circumstances, for example, if you sell all or part of your business, stop trading, go into administration, substantially change the nature of your business, are involved in a merger or are taken over and these must be reported within 20 days

Genuine Vacancy

A genuine vacancy is one which required the jobholder to perform the specific duties and responsibilities for the job and meet all the of the requirements for the Tier and category. Examples of vacancies that are not considered to be genuine include but are not limited to:

  • one which contains an exaggerated or incorrect job description to deliberately make it appear to meet the requirements of the tier and category when it does not
  • for a job or role that does not exist in order to enable a migrant to come to, or stay in, the UK
  • advertisements with requirements that are inappropriate for the job on offer, and have been tailored to exclude resident workers from being recruited

Our experienced team of solicitors will make sure that the application process becomes as smooth as possible. If you need help with sponsor license application, renewal, or to prepare for a compliance visit, call us today on 0203 909 8399 or send us an email on enquiries@connaughtlaw.com

About the Author

Awais has an extensive experience of advising high net-worth individuals on all types of immigration matters, ranging from investor and entrepreneur visa applications to appeals and judicial reviews in the Immigration Tribunal and the High Court.

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