Why are Sponsor Licences Suspended or Revoked?
The Home Office will suspend or revoke sponsor licences for non-compliance with sponsorship duties. Common reasons include:
- inaccurate record keeping
- employing or continuing to employ someone who fails the Right to Work in the UK test
- not conducting compliant resident labour market tests
- not having key personnel in place
- poor HR policies and procedures
Businesses find themselves often overwhelmed by their sponsor licence duties and responsibilities. It is all too easy to let record-keeping slip or neglect to replace key personnel. One way of avoiding this is to instruct our team to manage your compliance matters for you.
In most cases a suspension and revocation occur after a Home Office visit. These visits can be unannounced or planned. In any event, the pattern of the visit will be the same. The Home Office inspectors will ask to see your relevant records, such as evidence of the RLMT you carried out for the migrants who work for you, rights to work checks, documents that you are required to hold on the migrant etc. They will ask to see what kind of policies and processes you have in place to ensure you are able to meet your reporting duties and how well you have discharged of them until that moment. They will also speak to the management of the firm, as well as interview the migrant workers. The purpose of the interviews are mostly to ascertain what is the day to day responsibility of the migrant and whether their actual duties are as described in the CoS and meet the skill requirement.
If the evidence that the inspectors wish to see is not available at the moment or if it is too voluminous to consider at that stage, they might ask you to send them the evidence in the following days.
After the inspection visit, if any deficiencies have been discovered, the Home Office will write to you informing you of what measures they intend to take. In most cases they will suspend the licence, giving you the opportunity to respond to the concerns they have raised, in respect of your ability to be compliant with your sponsor duties.
That is the time for you to act and get the best immigration legal advise you can.
What happens if my Sponsor Licence is suspended?
Sponsor Licence suspension is serious. In most cases, unless a robust defence is put forward, a suspension will lead to revocation.
You will be unable to issue any new certificates of sponsorship, and you may be provided with a list of actions you need to undertake in order to have the suspension lifted.
You only have 20 working days to respond to a notification. If, after this period, the Home Office is not satisfied your business has provided satisfactory explanation for alleged breaches or taken appropriate action to remedy the situation/s that caused the suspension, your licence could be revoked.
The importance of having strong legal representation at this stage cannot be overstressed. This is the time where good legal representation can make the most difference. Our business immigration Solicitors will examine your suspension notification and draw up a strategy to meet Home Office requirements. We will act fast, staying in constant communication, and will provide a practical plan to have the suspension lifted.
Whenever a Sponsorship Licence has been suspended, there will be two main lines of work:
- Defend against the allegations of breach. This includes putting forward strong and reasonable argument as to why the facts and actions uncovered by the Home Office should not be considered a breach.
- Put forward compelling arguments as to the objective reasons that led to the breach and put forward a proposal of robust plan of action that will ensure such breaches will not occur in the future.
Whatever your situation, a suspension of Sponsorship Licence is not something to be taken lightly and you should not attempt to resolve it on your own, as you might lack vital knowledge in respect of legal and practical aspects that surround the sponsorship licence. This is your most important opportunity to avoid the disastrous effects of a revoked licence.
What happens if my Sponsor Licence is revoked?
If the Home Office revokes your sponsor licence, you will receive notification of their action in a letter. Revocation is of immediate effect, meaning your licence will stop being valid immediately and any person working for you must stop doing so without any delay. For businesses that have large number of employees relying on the licence or if their key skills are covered by such employees, revocation can have disastrous effects. It is therefore paramount that this issue is handled by the top professionals in immigration area.
As explained above, in most cases the revocation will happen after an initial suspension. While it’s ideal that you have strong representations during suspension and any adverse effect is stopped at that stage, revocation doesn’t necessarily have to be an end of the road. In case of receiving a letter informing you of your licence being revoked, you should contact us immediately. We will examine the letter and look for any factual errors which may result in having the revocation reversed. Our team of top business immigration lawyers will assist you with understanding the grounds of the alleged breach which resulted in revocation and help you to collate evidence to support your response to the Home Office.
We have a robust track record of advising employers who have had their Sponsor Licence revoked. We can assist you with building a case to the Home Office that the revocation of your licence would be disproportionate due to its wider implications, for example, if it will have adverse effect on your business, the economy in general or the other workers that you employ. Our team will also advise you on whether there is any scope for attempting to stay the implementation of revocation.
How to avoid getting my Sponsor Licence suspended or revoked?
As the tried and trusted wisdom suggests the best treatment is prevention. Fighting suspension and especially revocation of your sponsor licence is both stressful and financially draining. It can also have a serious impact on your business, even if eventually you are successful in restoring your licence. For this reason ensuring that you are compliant with all your duties is the best strategy to have in place.
Our team of experienced immigration lawyers is at hand to advise you on all compliance related matters. We recommend that all our clients have us carry out health-checks and mock audits to ensure they are well prepared for any visits from the Home Office. Getting immigration advice on each occasion when you intend to hire from overseas and issue a CoS, is very important as well.
Your sponsorship licence is your ability to hire and keep employing the best people for your business and should be treated as a precious commodity. Having it properly maintained will eventually work out much more cost effective then any remedial action you might need to take in the future.
Do not try and deal with a Sponsor Licence suspension or revocation alone. Our business immigration lawyers are experienced in handling these matters and will provide you with the best legal advice available.