United Kingdom: UKVI Auditing Employers as a Result of Sponsor License Renewals

There has been an increase in sponsorship compliance audits by UK Visas and Immigration. The audits come as a result of the submission of Sponsor License renewals by Tier 2 sponsors.

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Jul 26, 2017
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There has been an increase in sponsorship compliance audits by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).  The audits come as a result of the submission of Sponsor License renewals by Tier 2 sponsors.

Background

During the second half of 2016, a large portion of the Tier 2 sponsor population submitted an application for a Sponsor License renewal, some for the second time since the inception of the Points Based System (PBS).

Despite such renewal applications being approved, there has been an increase in audit activity in the past two weeks, subjecting Tier 2 sponsors to an unannounced or announced audit. In the case of announced audits, the notification was received in as little as two business days in advance of the audit.

UKVI Compliance Audit

During an audit, the UKVI Visiting Officer will make an assessment on whether the company is complying with their duties and responsibilities as a Sponsor License holder under Tier 2 of the PBS.

This assessment is determined based on the following:

  •     An interview with the Authorizing Officer and any personnel responsible for the maintenance of the Sponsor License in relation to the five key areas of compliance;
  •     A review of sponsored and non-sponsored worker Human Resources files; and
  •     Interviews with sponsored migrant workers.

Five Key Areas of Compliance

During the interview, the UKVI focuses on the following five key areas of compliance:

  1. Monitoring immigration status and prevention of illegal work;
  2. Maintaining foreign national contact details;
  3. Record keeping and recruitment practices;
  4. Tracking and monitoring of foreign nationals; and
  5. General sponsor duties and professional accreditations.

Are you Audit Ready?

In order to pass a UKVI audit, a sponsor must be "audit ready". To confidently facilitate a compliance audit, the following actions are recommended:

  • Record keeping requirements are up to date:
    • Sponsored employee Human Resources files contain all relevant documentation;
    • All documentation is available for cases where a recruitment campaign was used to support any Tier 2 General application;
    • Right to work checks are available for all employees; and
    • Client Agreements are available in cases where Tier 2 foreign national employees are placed at third party client sites.
  • All relevant updates on the Sponsor Management System following a change of circumstances for foreign national employees have been reported; and
  • Check that all details listed regarding the company are correct on the Sponsor Management System, e.g., address, company name, and key personnel.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

There are a number of outcomes as a result of a UKVI audit, the most favorable is maintaining an A-Rating. A sponsor will maintain their A-Rated status when the UKVI are satisfied that a sponsor is compliant and meeting all sponsorship requirements.

Should a sponsor be deemed to be non-compliant, the UKVI may look to downgrade a Sponsor License to a B-Rating, or in a worst-case scenario, suspend or revoke the Sponsor License.

Should you wish to have Fragomen assist in preparing you for a compliance audit, please contact the dedicated compliance team at EMEAComplianceteam@Fragomen.com. This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen Worldwide or send an email to londoninfo@fragomen.com.

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