The Home Office UKVI can conduct a sponsor licence compliance visit to decide whether to grant a new sponsor licence or continue an existing sponsor licence. The UKVI compliance officer will deal with 2 main types of compliance visits:

  • pre-licencea ssessment visit
  • post-licence compliance visit

Need help and assistance with sponsor licence compliance visit? Contact our expert team of sponsor licence solicitors in LondonManchester and Birmingham for fast, friendly, reliable and fixed fee immigration services for compliance of sponsor licence visit. Ask a question to our sponsor licence specialists for free immigration advice concerning your sponsor licence compliance visit.

Pre-licence Compliance Visit

A pre-licence assessment visit is visiting the premises of an employer that has applied for a sponsor licence, or has an existing sponsor licence but is applying to add another Tier to it. The compliance officer's visit findings will be considered by Sponsor Operations when they decide whether to grant the potential sponsor a licence or an other Tier.

When carrying out a pre-licence assessment visit, the UKVI compliance officer will check:

  • the potential sponsor has the necessary human resource (HR) systems in place to make sure that, if they are licensed, they will be able to carry out their sponsor duties
  • the number of migrants they want to sponsor is appropriate to the size and nature of the organisation
  • whether there is any evidence that suggests the potential sponsor would pose a threat to immigration control
  • any areas of concern that Sponsor Operations have identified as requiring further inspection relating to the potential sponsor’s application, for example, verifying the original documents they failed to submit with their application
  • if the potential sponsor has applied for T2 or Skilled Worker sponsor licence, that they will genuinely be able to offer employment that meets the T2 or Skilled Worker route requirements at the correct skill and pay level

The sponsor must be able to demonstrate they have systems in place or ready so they can meet their sponsorship duties.

Post-Licence Compliance Visit

A post-licence compliance visit is to a sponsor who already holds a sponsor licence. The compliance officer may be carrying out a visit because:

  • Sponsor Operations have requested the visit in connection with:
    • intelligence about the organisation
    • the sponsor hitting a trigger point for the number of migrants they have sponsored
    • a sponsor licence renewal application
    • another unit in the Home Office has requested the visit as part of a joint operation
    • the sponsor is B-rated and is therefore subject to an action plan that now requires assessment
    • the sponsor has requested the visit
    • the Premium Service team have requested a visit

This list is not exhaustive but covers the main reasons compliance officer might need to carry out a post-licence compliance visit.

During a post-licence compliance visit, the UKVI compliance officer will assess:

  • the sponsor’s HR systems to ensure they are meeting their sponsor duties
  • whether the sponsor or the sponsor’s activities pose a threat to immigration control
  • whether the original number of CoS or CAS requested on the sponsor application or annual request is still justified
  • whether migrants working with the sponsor are complying with the conditions of their leave to stay in the UK
  • whether the sponsor continues to have a trading presence
  • whether sponsored workers were recruited to fill genuine vacancies which meet the requirements of the relevant immigration route in respect of skill level and pay

Announced and Unannounced Visits

The UKVI compliance officer can make an announced or unannounced visit, as the sponsor guidance makes clear to sponsors that they must allow Home Office staff access to any of their premises or sites under their control, on demand. Diplomatic or consular premises are exceptions to the requirement to provide access on demand.

If a sponsor refuses to allow the compliance officer access on demand, the visit report should record that the sponsor was non-compliant, which may result in the sponsor licence being refused or revoked.

Unannounced Visits

The compliance team of the UKVI will assess if the visit should be announced or unannounced. Visits should normally be unannounced, and,in particular,will be unannounced where:

  • the request has specifically asked for the visit to be unannounced as it is intelligence led
  • the compliance team consider an unannounced visit would achieve more accurate results -for example, for a sector based risk reason
  • there are serious concerns from previous visits that make the compliance team consider it more appropriate to visit unannounced

This list is not exhaustive.

Announced Visits

Announced visits allow certain benefits, for example,having the right person to speak to or having the full attention of the sponsor, since the compliance officer will be expected. In an announced visit, the compliance officer will advise the sponsor in advance what documents the compliance officer needs to see when going on an announced visit.

Migrant Issues and Illegal Working

During the compliance visit, the compliance will determine whether or not the sponsor has a potential illegal worker working for the sponsor. Employers must keep copies of passports and biometric residence permits for all sponsored migrants to comply with their record keeping duties as a sponsor.They also have a duty to comply with the law by not employing migrants who do not have permission to do the job in question, for example,a student whose job is 30 hours a week or a visitor with no right to work.

If the compliance officer finds an illegal worker on a sponsor’s premises but the sponsor has carried out checks as recommended in the illegal working guidelines, thesponsor will be classed by the Home Office as having a ‘statutory excuse’. The compliance officer will still report your findings to any or all the following:

  • Intelligence team
  • Civil Penalties Compliance team
  • Immigration Compliance and Enforcement (ICE)

Sponsor Duties

A sponsor is responsible for fulfilling certain duties from the day their licence is granted until:

Their responsibility for a migrant starts on the day they assigna certificate of sponsorship (CoS) and ends:

  • when they notify the Home Office that they are no longer sponsoring themigrant for any reason
  • when the migrantleavesthe UK and their entry clearance or leave to remain expires
  • when the migrant is granted further leave to remain with a different sponsor or in another immigration category
  • if the migrant is a Croatian national and hasworked lawfully in the UK for a period of 12 continuous months

Assessment By The Compliance Officer Of UKVI

The main focus of a UKVI compliance officer's role is on the sponsor, with a secondary focus on the sponsored migrants. A compliance officer will primarily be assessing:

  • that a licensed sponsor is meeting their sponsorship obligations
  • that a prospective sponsor has the necessary systems and procedures in place to meet their sponsorship obligations
  • the accuracy of information given on the sponsor licence application
  • whetherthe sponsor iscomplying with their obligations to prevent illegal working

Possible Outcomes Of The Sponsor Compliance Visit

The sponsor licence compliance assessment will lead to one of the following outcomes:

  • the sponsor licence application will be approved or, in the case of an existing sponsor, they will maintain their current licence status
  • refusal of the sponsor licence application or, in the case of an existing sponsor, they may:
    • have their allocation of CoS reduced or removed
    • for T2 and 5 sponsors, be downgraded to a B-rating and be issued with a time-limited action plan
    • have their licencesuspended
    • have their licencerevoked

The UKVI compliance officer could also decide if a sponsor qualifies for premium customer service.

Our Fee For Helping With UKVI Sponsor Compliance Visit

Our fees for sponsor licence compliance visit related services are given in the fee table below:

Our Service Our Fee
One-Off Documents Checking Service for sponsor licence compliance visit £400 + VAT
Full help With Home Office Compliance Visit From £500 + VAT To £800 + VAT
Representations To Home Office UKVI following suspension of the sponsor licence From £500 + VAT To £800 + VAT
Pre-Action Protocol (PAP) Against Refusal/Revocation of the sponsor licence From £800 + VAT To £1200 + VAT
Judicial Review (JR) Against Refusal/Revocation of the sponsor licence From £2,000 + VAT To £4,000 + VAT
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