Compliance And Sponsor Licences – Protecting Your Business

From Monday 8 January 2018, Simpson Millar LLP (‘Simpson Millar’) closed its immigration law practice. After that date, Simpson Millar are not undertaking any immigration law work.

The team of Simpson Millar immigration lawyers have joined Freeths LLP (‘Freeths’) and will be dealing with any existing work.

Any questions or queries should be directed in the first instance to Emma Brooksbank at Freeths or telephone number 07974 257 071.

Whether you are recruiting temporary or permanent workers from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA), your business must have a Tier 2 or Tier 5 sponsor licence from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

A sponsor licence certifies that you are able to employ non-EU workers, and if you are found without a licence or employing illegal workers your business could face severe civil penalties, as well as damage to your reputation.

Whether you want to review your processes, prepare for an inspection by the Home Office, or challenge a decision made about your licence, our business immigration solicitors will ensure you remain legally compliant.

Compliance And Licence Protection

In order for your business to maintain your Tier 2 or Tier 5 sponsor licence, you need to have a good understanding of the points-based system and your duties as a sponsor.

The points-based system is a way of enabling migrant workers from outside of the EU to live and work in the UK, and places a great deal of responsibility on employers to ensure that their workers are legally authorised to work in the UK.

Meeting The Home Office's Sponsor Requirements

The Home Office has strict regulations in place that outline what employers need to do to keep their sponsor licences, which includes:

  • Keeping your employees' records up to date
  • Paying your employees the correct salary
  • Ensuring your employees meet the requirements of the Code of Practice for their role and that you are complying with your duties as a sponsor – these requirements are complex and ever-changing

The Home Office undertakes regular compliance visits, which can be held at short notice, in which they assess whether you are meeting your duties as a sponsor.

If the Home Office believes that you are in breach of your duty, even for a minor matter, it has the power to suspend and revoke your licence.

Any sponsored workers will no longer be able to work for the business in this situation. The loss of a licence and subsequent loss of key members of staff can have significant negative consequences on your business’s ability to operate.

Our immigration solicitors can help you establish efficient systems to avoid any non-compliance issues and minimise the risk to your business by:

  • Doing a mock compliance visit and auditing your record keeping, reporting, and sponsor duty compliance systems
  • Drafting and implementing compliance policies and strategies
  • Providing training to HR and senior management to help you meet your sponsor duties and understand changes to the points-based system as they are introduced
  • Drafting and implementing illegal work prevention policies and undertaking right to work checks for all new employees

If you need some advice about getting a sponsor licence or your duties, speak to one of our immigration lawyers on 0808 129 3320.

Challenging Licence Revocation And Civil Penalties

Having your sponsor licence suspended or taken away can have devastating consequences for your business.

As the action you take next could determine the future of your business, it is important for you to get specialist legal advice from one of our solicitors. This will give you the best chances of resolving the matter.

Challenging Licence Revocation

If your licence is suspended following an inspection carried out by the Home Office, our immigration solicitors will take fast, effective action to reduce the chances of it being revoked.

We can:

  • Provide training to key personnel in the business to prepare for an inspection
  • Prepare strong representations and evidence in response to a suspension decision to avoid licence revocation and reinstate your full licence
  • Challenge a revocation decision by way of Judicial Review to overturn the decision, reinstate your licence, and avoid the curtailment of leave for your employees or reinstate their leave to remain if it has been curtailed – we can also seek to secure your costs against the Home Office

Avoiding And Challenging Civil Penalties

All businesses must be vigilant when hiring workers and take the appropriate steps to confirm that they are permitted to work in the United Kingdom.

If you are found to be employing someone illegally, this could lead to a civil penalty of £20,000 per illegal worker.

To protect your business, our immigration solicitors can:

    Provide a right to work checking service to safeguard your business from an illegal working penalty

    Ensure that an extension application and a further right to work check is made in time for employees with time-limited permission to stay in the UK

If you have been issued with a civil penalty, speak to our solicitors as soon as possible. We can challenge the validity of the penalty and/or can seek to reduce its amount.

How Can Simpson Millar's Business Immigration Solicitors Help Me?

Our immigration solicitors come highly recommended by the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners, and are known nationwide for their expertise in the field.

With the help of our team you can rest assured that your business will stay compliant with the Home Office's standards, preventing your sponsor licence from being put at risk.

We can offer you a bespoke mock audit service for your business, identifying its strengths and areas for improvement and help you implement these changes successfully. If your sponsor licence is under threat, we will work closely with you to eliminate this risk so that you can retain your licence.

Our immigration team can also provide you with legal assistance in a range of languages including Urdu, Punjabi, Polish, Italian, French, Kicongo and Lingala.

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