Dealing with sponsor licence issues, like suspensions or revocations, can feel like a tricky maze. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) keeps a close eye on how businesses stick to immigration laws, so you could be facing a headache if you don’t keep up-to-date.
Whether your licence has been downgraded, suspended, or revoked completely, knowing what to do next is essential if you want to have workers from abroad. This guide is here to walk you through what a sponsor licence is and what you can do if yours has been suspended or revoked.
What is a sponsor licence?
A sponsor licence is a permit from the UK Home Office allowing companies to hire people from outside the UK. It’s important for businesses that need skilled workers from abroad.
Its aim is for companies to show they can handle certain immigration responsibilities, like checking the legal status of foreign workers.
There are different licences for various job types, like Tier 2 for long-term skilled workers and Tier 5 for temporary ones. This system helps ensure only qualified foreign workers who meet immigration rules are hired in the UK.
My sponsor licence has been suspended – what do I do?
Having your sponsor licence suspended can be unsettling, but it’s not the end of the road. This suspension means UK Visas and Immigration has concerns about whether you’re complying with sponsorship duties. It pauses your ability to sponsor new foreign workers, but it’s also an opportunity to set things right.
If your sponsor licence is suspended, it’s important to take the following steps:
1. Understand why it’s been suspended
Common reasons can include:
- Failure to pay the worker
- Poor HR policies and procedures
- Failure to comply with record-keeping requirements
2. Respond promptly and in detail
It’s vital that you respond to UKVI within the timeframe provided (usually 20 days).
Your response should address each point raised in the suspension notice. Make sure that you provide clear explanations and any relevant evidence to support your case.
3. Review your procedures
Take a close look inside your company to see where things might have gone wrong and take measures to rectify the issues. This means doing an internal audit to check your processes. Maybe your record-keeping or HR policies need a tune-up, or your reporting systems could use some updating.
4. Talk to an expert
It’s also a smart move to talk to an immigration expert. A solicitor or consultant who knows the ins and outs of UK immigration law can be a big help. They’ll give you solid advice on what to do next and assist in putting together a strong response for UKVI.
5. Wait for UKVI’s Decision
After submitting your response, UKVI will review it and decide on the future of your licence. Be prepared for a potential inspection or further enquiries from UKVI.
The outcomes can vary from reinstatement with an A-rating, a downgrade to a B-rating with an action plan, or in the worst-case scenario, revocation.
What does revocation mean?
Sponsor licence revocation is the most severe consequence and means that your ability to sponsor overseas workers is completely removed. This action is usually reserved for serious or systematic breaches of sponsor duties. For example, if:
- You no longer operate or trade in the UK.
- You significantly violate your sponsorship responsibilities.
- You pose a risk to immigration control.
- You’ve been convicted of a relevant crime or received a specific civil penalty.
- You provided false information in your sponsorship licence application
Can I appeal the decision?
If you’ve had your sponsor licence revoked, unfortunately, there is no right of appeal. Additionally, there is a ‘cooling off period’ of at least 12 months during which you cannot apply for another sponsor licence. So, it’s vital that you pay close attention to your sponsorship licence responsibilities to avoid going down this road to begin with.
Expert help for sponsorship challenges
If you need guidance to deal with sponsor licence suspension issues, Osbourne Pinner Solicitors, expert immigration lawyers in London, are here to help. We understand the stress and uncertainty that come with visa issues and refusales. That’s why we offer a complimentary, no-obligation conversation to discuss your immigration concerns and provide expert professional advice tailored to your situation.