Immigration: Sponsor Licencing

Posted on In Focus Apr 2015 - by Publisher
Immigration: Sponsor Licencing

A business which is unfocused, sloppy in the collection and maintenance of a good human resources system is likely to come unstuck in the area of sponsor licences.  Employers believe that as long as they are not employing anyone whose status is legal, they are shielded from the rigours of the licencing system. This is not the case. The licencing system is there to identify a threat to immigration control from the processes adopted and once you remember this your task will be much easier.   

The system you maintain can either be manual or electronic or both. It is entirely up to you to dictate how this should be done. If asked you must be prepared to demonstrate the system adopted.

Visits can be announced or unannounced. Unannounced visits take place in sectors that are deemed to be high risk. Restaurants and care homes appear to fit this bill.

The person who should be interviewed should be the person who maintains the system and although the UKVI may insist on carrying out the interview without this person, they can only interview the owner or Manager.  If there is no senior person on the premises they should be asked to return. Otherwise there is a real risk that inaccuracies will be recorded and treated as fact.

At the end of an interview the UKVI asks the employer to sign the record. This must be checked carefully despite the fact that it may have been a tiring and stressful event. You are entitled to refuse to sign it if you do not agree with the record. You could offer to check it and return it by post. Otherwise check it thoroughly, correct in writing any inaccuracies or additional comments that you wish to make and state your objections if you went through the interview reluctantly.

This should ideally be on the record itself.  In the section that states “are you well and fit to be interviewed” you should record your objection. If the officer refuses to allow you to put your comments on the document, this is not lawful and you should follow up the matter in writing immediately. Do not assume that you will have an easier time if you do not object. And finally time and time again it is necessary to remind employers to keep a copy of the interview for their record.

So what is the minimum you need to do? Preparation and maintenance of a staff list by name, date of birth, nationality and immigration status/ expiry date is an essential starting point. This document should be reviewed on a regular basis. 

Any dates of expiry of a visa should be recorded in a manual or electronic diary and acted upon by that date. In the past it was expected that employers were required to record these dates of expiry three months beforehand. However it is no longer required.  However by the date of the expiry of the visa, you should have a record of an application for an extension and this should take the form of a top copy of the form and evidence of a delivery receipt. 

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