Sponsorship license is generally granted for a period of four years subject to the condition that the sponsor continues to fully comply with the sponsorship duties and takes appropriate actions as required. The Home Office reserve a right to pay a surprise visit to any employer having sponsorship license to ensure that the sponsor is fully compliant with the rules and regulations of the license.
Having a sponsorship license therefore is not the end of the process, it is in fact beginning of commitment of compliance of all the rules and procedures that the sponsor makes to the Home Office. The sponsor in fact shares the burden of immigration control with the Home Office and is penalized by suspension and or revocation if it is found that the sponsors has failed to comply with the duties that they have been entrusted to.
The Home Office has provided full details of all aspects of the duties and responsibilities of the sponsor and failure to adhere even to a single duty may lead to suspension and later revocation of the sponsorship license.
The Home Office is not under a duty to inform prior to making the visit to the sponsor’s business premises however we have experienced that in some cases they do inform the employers, in most cases they do not. It is therefore really important to have everything in place at all times and to keep a strict check on even a seemingly insignificant matter, like change of home address of the point based migrant or change of salary or job description.
The Home office team would be keen to look at the paperwork that the sponsors are required to keep in their business premises, to review the holiday records, annual leave records, recruitment process, salary details and also assess the genuineness of the job itself. They may also interview the point based migrants to know their version of employment and the company’s dealings. They also take the liberty to speak to the employees of the sponsor who are British citizens or EEA nationals in order to make a full assessment of the genuineness of the business, the hierarchy and the general dealings of the business.
Once visit is complete, the sponsor receives a detailed report of the assessment made by the immigration officials along with the outcome of the visit.
If the Home Office team is fully satisfied with the compliance of the sponsor then no further action is taken and the sponsorship license of the sponsor remains in place. However, if they find any discrepancies, or non-compliance with the rules and procedures or any breaches of the sponsorship duties, they will suspend the sponsorship license with immediate effect and generally gives 20 working days to the sponsor to make any representations in response to the allegations made in the suspension letter.
It is extremely crucial to seek professional advice and services whilst preparing for the response of the suspension letter and arranging for the documents requested by the home office. We have vast experience in handling such matters and have been able to have the sponsorship licenses reinstated for our clients, depending on the allegations leveled against the sponsor.
It is extremely important to address each and every point one by one by providing reasonable explanation and or relevant documentary evidences in order to rebut the allegations. Our job is to weigh the explanations and documents provided by our clients against the allegations put forward by the home office and make appropriate representations in a way that can be fully defended in Judicial review, should the home office refuses to agree to our assertions or give proper weight to the documents or information provided.
The good thing is that the existing point based migrants can continue working for the sponsor during the whole process and their employments are not affected at all.
After giving full consideration to the representations made in response to the suspension letter and the documents provided therewith, the home office may choose to take one of the following actions:
- They may reinstate the sponsorship license – In this case, the point based migrants would be safe and could continue working for their employer.
- They may downgrade the sponsorship license to B category and give an action plan to be followed by the sponsor in order to upgrade to A category - In this case, the point based migrants would be safe and could continue working for their employer but the sponsor would not be able to sponsor any further employees until the sponsorship license gets upgraded to A category upon successfully following the action plan.
- They may refuse to accept the arguments put forward in the representations and revoke the sponsorship license of the sponsor – In this case, the sponsor would not be able to employ any point based migrants and the home office will also curtail the employee’s leaves to expire in 60 days (provided they have valid leave for more than 6 months).
The decision of revocation of sponsorship license does not come with a right of appeal and one has to challenge the decision in the High court by way of Judicial Review.
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