Sponsor Licence Compliance - What UK Sponsor Licence Holders Need To Know

Sponsor Licence Duties

Every licenced sponsor that hires individuals to work in the UK from overseas must follow the duties and responsibilities set by the UK Immigration system. In this post, we will discuss the continuous obligations necessary to ensure compliance with the "Sponsor Duties" that organisations commit to when applying for a Sponsor Licence.

Right-to-work Checks

Right-to-work checks are required for all employees of any nationality – not just sponsored workers. Employers have the following options when carrying out the RTW checks: 

  • Manual checks of physical documents where applicable.
  • IDVT checks for British and Irish citizen's documents.
  • Home Office online right-to-work service. Checks using this service do not require a check of physical documents and can be conducted online using a share code provided by the employee.

If the above options have been exhausted and the individual’s status remains unclear, an employer has a duty to contact the Home Office for clarification.

Record Keeping Duties 

To comply with record-keeping duties employers must hold for each sponsored worker in a paper or digital format:

  • A list of all sponsored employees including name, nationality, DOB, immigration status, job title, NiNo & expiry dates of their visas
  • Copy of passport, BRP card & ‘right to work’ evidence.
  • Current and historical contact details since entering your employment (UK residential address, telephone number, mobile telephone number)
  • Job descriptions & signed contracts of employment.
  • P60s & pay slips.
  • Degree / professional certificates and employer references as required for the vacancy.
  • Evidence of all recruitment activity undertaken in relation to the roles filled by migrants.
  • Evidence of meeting the English language requirement (if required)
  • Attendance or absences from work

You must have a system in place to track a sponsored worker’s immigration expiry dates.

Sponsor Duties 

The following must be reported on your SMS for each sponsored worker within 10 working days:

  • if a sponsored migrant does not turn up for their first day of work
  • if a sponsored migrant’s contract of, or for, employment or services, or registration with a relevant body, is terminated earlier than shown on their certificate of sponsorship (CoS) 
  • if you stop sponsoring a migrant for any other reason, such as: 
  • you become aware that they have moved into an immigration route that does not need a sponsor 
  • they are absent from work without pay for 4 weeks or more, and this absence is not covered by the exceptions in ‘Unpaid leave and reductions in salary’
  • if there are any significant changes in the sponsored migrant’s circumstances, for example:
    • a promotion or change in job title, or core duties, other than those which need a change of employment application 
    • a change of salary from the level stated on the CoS, other than changes due to annual increments or bonuses. Only a decrease in salary needs to be reported
    • a change of salary from that stated on the CoS for one of the reasons given in the ‘Unpaid leave and reductions in salary’ section 
    • the location they are employed from changes 
    • if a sponsored migrant’s employment is affected by TUPE or similar protection – for example, if you are involved in a merger or demerger

As evident from the above, the Home Office exhibits a high level of stringency when it comes to ensuring sponsors' adherence to regulations. Maintaining compliance can be particularly challenging for employers, which can result in severe consequences, including the downgrading, suspension, or revocation of their sponsorship licence.

Contact Our Immigration Specialist Team 

Migrate UK has a proven track record of successfully aiding numerous clients in obtaining sponsor licences and consistently meeting all Home Office requirements. We provide a comprehensive compliance and auditing service designed to help employers and organisations efficiently manage their sponsorship obligations for each employee. Our compliance service operates on an annual basis and all new Sponsor Licence customers are offered one year’s compliance service free of charge.

For expert guidance and support in obtaining a Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence or ensuring compliance with sponsorship responsibilities, please reach out to our team of immigration consultants.


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