The Home Office UKVI aims to focus on the organisations having pending sponsor licence applications at the first stage; however, all employers have been advised to have their system and processes according to the rules defined by the Home Office in order to avoid being penalised. The Home Office may decide to make a “Sponsor licence compliance visit” before granting a new sponsor licence or continuing with the one previously granted.
Compliance Duties of the Employer
For the prevention of illegal working regimes in the UK, employers in the UK must meet their duties, whereas; sponsor licence holders have to meet additional compliance duties. Home Office has several methods to monitor employers, one of which is sponsor compliance site visits. While inspection, officials from the Home Office visit the site to inspect HR documents and processes. They may interview employees to check immigration compliance.
Visits conducted by the authorities may be announced with prior notice or may visit without giving any notice. Therefore, employers must keep their systems according to compliance at all times. The audit can occur at any of the following stages:
- At the pre-licence stage of the licence application process inspect the organisation’s HR systems and processes before granting the sponsor licence
- At any point during the four-year licence validity period
- After making a licence renewal application
What does the Home Office assess during a site visit?
Employers will be assessed in the following areas:
- General sponsor duties
- Monitoring employee immigration status
- Maintaining employee data
- Employee tracking
Preparation for Home Office Visit
The most important part of employers is to maintain accurate records of the employees. Records must be easily assessable and up to date at any specific time. The employer must keep comprehensive documentation of all relevant aspects of sponsored workers’ employment, such as absences, work duties, location and pay. Below are the points laid out to help the employers, which gives good impression to the authorities.
- Make daily record keeping
- Notify Home Office of any employee or organisation changes
- Assign key personnel’s including the Authorising Officer, Level 1/2 users and key contact
- Ensure records are kept relating to the worker’s employment, such as their job description
Penalties Imposed on non-compliant Employers
- Fines of up to £20,000 (per worker) found to be working illegally
- Downgrading of the sponsor licence
- Suspension of the sponsor licence
- Revocation of the licence