Sponsor duties

March 21

Sponsor Duties for Licence Holders


OTB Legal

Duties of a Sponsor Licence Holder

If your organisation gets a sponsor licence, this comes with a number of extra responsibilities. These are referred to as your ‘sponsor duties’. Once you get your licence, and your sponsored employee starts work, it is easy for these ongoing issues to be forgotten.

The Home Office expect sponsors to learn about their duties and to meet them throughout the life of their licence. If they find that you have not complied with your duties, the Home Office can revoke or downgrade your sponsor licence. They operate a ‘light trigger’ approach to revocations, which means that relatively minor mistakes can have major consequences. 

There are five key sponsor duties. This article gives a short description of each one but for more detailed information you should read the full Home Office guidance or seek legal advice.

1. Reporting

The key thing to understand when you take on a sponsor licence is that you take on responsibility for monitoring your sponsored workers. This means that there are a large number of events that you have to report. Some of these are obvious. For example, if the sponsored worker leaves, or goes AWOL, then you must report this.

However, other reports are less obvious. For example, in some cases you must report a promotion. You must also report when an employee moves to another type of visa and no longer needs to be sponsored by you. This might be if they get indefinite leave to remain for example.

There are also changes to your business that you must report. For example, you must report if you are involved in a TUPE transfer, or in a merger or takeover. You also have to report if you change from being a small business to being a medium or large business. In some cases you must apply for a new licence.

Most changes must be reported within 10 days. Although some must be reported within 20 days.

2. Record-keeping

As a sponsor there are also various records that you are obliged to retain. These are all set out in Appendix D of the sponsor guidance.

Some of these documents are retained for other purposes anyway. For example, sponsors must keep evidence of paying the salary of the sponsored worker.

Other documents are less obvious. For example, you should keep records of all recruitment activity relating to a sponsored role including copies of adverts, a record of how many people applied and why they were not hired. If you interview candidate, you should keep the interview notes. If your advertisement said that a particular qualification is essential, then you should keep a copy of the sponsored worker’s qualification. The purpose of this is so that the Home Office can check that you are offering a ‘genuine vacancy’.

3. Complying with immigration laws

The broadly means making sure you abide by the published sponsor guidance and comply with the immigration rules relating to skilled workers. For example, you should only recruit sponsored workers if they have the skills needed to do the job and only sponsor workers to fill a ‘genuine vacancy’. You must also make sure that the salary and standard occupation code are correct for the role.

You must also make sure that any worker who needs an ATAS certificate obtains one before they start work.

4. Complying with wider UK law

The Home Office expect sponsors to be responsible organisations in a wider sense. For example, they expect you to comply with employment law, pay the national minimum wage, and comply with planning law. If a worker needs a DBS check for their role, you must ensure that they have one.

5. Not engaging in activities that are not conducive to the public good

  • This means that you should not foster hatred or community division;
  • Encourage, glorify or justify terrorism;
  • Discriminate on the ground of sex, age, disability, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership status, race, or religion or belief (including lack of belief).
  • How can I get more information?

    The Home Office publish over 200 pages of guidance for sponsors on their website, which is available for free.

    If you would like professional assistance then OTB Legal have a team of specialist business immigration lawyers who would be happy to help. You can book a free appointment to discuss your requirements below or call us on 0300 111 6682 and ask to speak to the Business Immigration Team.

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