Impact Of Employee Changes On Your Sponsor Licence

Kshitija Kanchan
05/02/2024

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Introduction

Holding a sponsor licence in the UK not only offers numerous benefits but also entails a range of responsibilities. This has been mentioned multiple times before in our blogs, but it is necessary for sponsor licence holders to understand the minute details regarding reporting. A sponsor licence allows businesses and companies to hire foreign skilled workers, which brings in the right talent for the role.

When an employee is sponsored by a company, any changes concerning the employee have to be identified and categorised under either reportable or not reportable activities. There are some activities that might also require a new visa application or requires the sponsorship to be ended. All these sponsored employee-related activities will be discussed in this blog.

Understanding the UK Sponsor Licence System

To be able to hire overseas, a UK employer must hold a sponsor licence to allow them to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for the job role they wish to hire in. Each CoS is specifically assigned to one employee/worker and has the employer’s UK sponsor licence number in it.

The UK sponsor licence is split into two types based on the type of worker a company wants to employ. If they want to hire employees for particular skills or long-term employment, then they can go for a ‘Worker Licence’. And if the company were to hire only for a short/temporary time, then they can go for a ‘Temporary workers Licence’. There are different licence categories under both Worker Licence and Temporary Worker Licence. If the company wants to hire a combination of both, then they can opt for both while making an application for a sponsor licence.

As a sponsor licence holder, a company is liable to report certain changes to the Home Office regarding the organisation or the employees. These changes can be reported through the Sponsor Management System (SMS) which allows various features such as managing licence, assigning CoS to employees, CAS to students, reporting changes with employees’ circumstances and any changes in the organisation’s circumstances.

Types of Employee Changes and Their Impact

The Home Office has set different time limits for organisation and employee-related changes. Any employee-related changes normally need to be reported within 10 working days and changes relating to the organisation are normally within 20 working days.

Changes/ incidents that need to be reported relating to the employees on sponsorship:

  • When a sponsored worker doesn’t show up for work within 28 days of the start date.
  • When a sponsored worker is absent from work for 10 days continuously without obtaining permission from the employer.
  • When a sponsored worker is absent from work for 4 weeks (in case of scale-up worker visa, during the period they are on sponsorship) on low or no pay and has a valid reason for absence.
  • When the sponsored worker’s salary is reduced from what is stated in their CoS (in case of a rise in salary, no reporting has to be done).
  • Change in work location of a sponsored worker.
  • When a worker is no longer being sponsored by the employer.
  • The arrival and departure dates in the UK of offshore sponsored workers.
  • Any route-specific changes that haven’t been mentioned already. Check here for route-specific duties.

Changes/ incidents that require a new visa application:

  • A change in the job’s core responsibilities that requires a change in the SOC code will require a change of employment application unless exempted for any reasons listed in paragraph S9.17 of the Sponsor guidance.

Additionally, the employer’s actions are required:

  • If a sponsored worker breaches their staying conditions.
  • Informing the police about any suspicion of workers engaging in criminal or terrorist activities.

Maintaining Compliance with Sponsor Licence Conditions

Strategies for Monitoring and Managing Employee Changes

  • Conduct regular internal audits of employee records to ensure all data is up-to-date and accurate. This includes checking visa statuses, work hours, and job roles.
  • Provide training for staff responsible for managing sponsored employees, ensuring they understand the latest immigration rules and compliance requirements.
  • Implement a robust HR management system to track and monitor employee work status changes, including promotions, transfers, or resignations.
  • Develop action plans for visa expiries, ensuring timely renewals are processed to avoid any legal work status lapses.
  • Establish clear communication channels between HR, management, and sponsored employees to promptly address any changes in employment status, job roles, or personal circumstances.

Tools or Software That Can Assist in Managing Sponsor Licence Obligations

  • Immigration Compliance Software: Utilize specialised software designed to manage immigration compliance. These tools can track visa expiry dates, automate reminders, and help prepare compliance reports.
  • HR Management Systems: Invest in a comprehensive HR management system that includes features for monitoring work hours, tracking employee documentation, and reporting changes in employee status.
  • Automated Alert Systems: Implement systems that send automatic alerts for important deadlines, like visa renewals or reporting requirements, to ensure timely action.

Best Practices for Ensuring Ongoing Compliance

  • Maintain thorough and organised records for each sponsored employee, including copies of passports, right-to-work documents, and employment contracts.
  • Adhere to the reporting obligations set by the Home Office. Report any significant changes in sponsored employees’ circumstances within the specified time frame.
  • Regularly consult with immigration lawyers to ensure your organisation’s practices align with legal requirements

How can City Legal’s team help you?

Our immigration law firm prioritises delivering results and ensuring client satisfaction. Our goal is to offer clients a smooth and hassle-free experience. We achieve this by fostering open and prompt communication, setting clear and realistic expectations from the outset, and consistently exceeding these expectations throughout every phase of the process.

Contact the City Legal team at enquiries@citylegalsolicitors.co.uk or call us on 020 8175 4000.

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