duties of a licensed sponsor

As a licensed sponsor you will benefit directly from migration and UKVI expect you to play your part in ensuring that the system is not abused. This means that you must fulfil certain duties. Some of these duties apply to all sponsors, whilst others are specific to those licensed under certain tiers or categories.

The objectives of these duties are to:

  • prevent abuse of assessment procedures
  •  capture early any patterns of migrant behaviour that may cause concern
  •  address possible weaknesses in process which can cause those patterns
  •  monitor compliance with Immigration Rules

When do my sponsor duties start and finish?

Your responsibilities as a sponsor start on the day we grant your licence and end if:

  •  you surrender your licence
  •  we revoke your licence

Your responsibility for each migrant starts on the day you assign a CoS to them.

Your responsibility for each migrant ends:

  •  when you tell us that you are no longer sponsoring them for any reason
  •  when they leave the UK and their entry clearance or leave to remain lapses
  •  when they are granted further leave to remain with a different sponsor or in another immigration category which means that you do not need to sponsor them under Tier 2 or Tier 5 anymore
  •  where they are a Croatian national and they have worked lawfully in the UK for a period of 12 continuous months

Record keeping duties

You must keep the following records or documents, and make them available to us on request:

  •  a photocopy or electronic copy of the relevant page, or pages, of each sponsored migrant’s passport, worker authorisation (Purple Registration Certificate) or UK immigration status document and biometric residence permit (if available) – that show their entitlement to work including their period of leave to remain in the UK
  •  each sponsored migrant’s contact details – up to date UK residential address, telephone number and mobile telephone number. Appendix D: record keeping of the guidance for sponsors has more information.

You must keep the following records or documents, and make them available to us on request:

  •  a photocopy or electronic copy of the relevant page, or pages, of each sponsored migrant’s passport, worker authorisation (Purple Registration Certificate) or UK immigration status document and biometric residence permit (if available) – that show their entitlement to work including their period of leave to remain in the UK
  •  each sponsored migrant’s contact details – up to date UK residential address, telephone number and mobile telephone number.
  • You must give us, when asked, any documents relating to your sponsored migrants or the running of your organisation that we consider relevant to assessing your compliance with your duties as a sponsor. We might, for example, ask for details of your recruitment practices so that we can make sure that a resident labour market test was carried out correctly
  • Since 2008, we have been introducing biometric residence permits. These are immigration documents which contain details of the holder’s immigration status, fingerprints and facial image. Where the migrant has a biometric residence permit, you must keep a copy.
  • If you are a higher education institution endorsing a migrant under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route, you must keep evidence of the selection process that resulted in that endorsement.
  • If you sponsor a child aged under the age of 18, you must keep a copy of the letter from their parents or legal guardian, or just one parent if that parent has sole legal responsibility for the child. This should consent to the arrangements for the child’s application, travel, reception and care arrangements in the UK. Children aged 16 and 17 have the legal right to live independently in the UK, and may make their own arrangements for accommodation, but they need the consent of their parent(s)/legal guardian to do this and to travel to the UK if applying from overseas.

Reporting duties

You must report certain information or events to UKVI using the sponsor management system (SMS), within any time limit set. The ‘What is the sponsor management system’ section has more information on the SMS. Any information reported about a migrant’s non attendance, non compliance or disappearance will be used to take enforcement action against them.

You must report the following within 10 working days:

  •  if a sponsored migrant does not turn up for their first day of work – you must include any reason given for their non-attendance, for example a missed flight: you must include the last recorded residential address and contact telephone number for the migrant, and any personal email addresses you have for them
  •  if a sponsored migrant’s contract of, or for employment, or services or registration is terminated earlier than shown on their certificate of sponsorship (CoS), for example, if the migrant resigns or is dismissed you must include the name and address of any new employer that the migrant has moved to, if known; you must include the last recorded residential address and contact telephone number for the migrant, and any personal email addresses you have for them
  • if you stop sponsoring a migrant for any other reason, this could be if:
    • 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, which is not covered by the exceptions in reduction in salary; you must include the last recorded residential address and contact telephone number for the migrant, and any personal email addresses you have for them
  • if there are any significant changes in the sponsored migrant’s circumstances, for example:
    • o a promotion or change in job title, or core duties, other than those which need a change of employment application – the ‘Change of employment’ section has more information on this
    • a change of salary from the level stated on the CoS, other than changes due to annual increments or bonuses
    • a change of salary from that stated on the CoS due to maternity, paternity shared parental or adoption leave, or a period of long term sick leave lasting one month or longer
    • the location they are employed at changes – this includes where a sports player moves on loan
    • if a sponsored migrant’s employment is affected by TUPE or similar protection – this could be if you are involved in a merger or demerger
    • any information which suggests that a sponsored migrant or a migrant you endorsed under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route (where applicable) is breaching the conditions (‘rules’) of their leave
  • If a sponsored migrant is absent from work for more than 10 consecutive working days without permission, you must report this within 10 working days  of the 10th day of absence.

If there are any significant changes in your own circumstances, for example, if you sell all or part of your business, stop trading, go into administration, substantially change the nature of your business, are involved in a merger or are taken over, you must report this within 20 working days.

If you are endorsing a migrant under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route, you must make contact with them at least once every quarter (within a 12 month period). If a migrant misses an expected contact point without your permission, you must report this by email to the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur team within 3 months of it happening.

You must include in your report:

  •  whether or not you are continuing to endorse the migrant
  •  if you are continuing to endorse them, why

You must give the police any information that suggests any migrant you are sponsoring, or endorsing under any tier may be engaged in terrorism or criminal activity.

You must report details of any third party intermediary, whether in UK or abroad, that has assisted you in the recruitment of migrant employees.

Complying with the law

To make sure you are complying with our immigration laws, you must:

  • only employ migrants who are appropriately qualified, registered or experienced to do the job, or in respect of a Tier 2 (General) migrant, will be, by the time they begin the job – such as if the migrant is working as a doctor, you must make sure that they have the correct registration that allows them to practise legally in the UK
  •  you must keep a copy of any registration document, certificate or reference that confirm they meet the requirements of the specific job, and give this to us on request – we may request further information or evidence from you or the migrant to confirm this requirement
  •  not employ migrants where they don’t have the experience or permission to do the job in question, and stop employing any migrants who for any reason are no longer entitled to do the job
  •  not assign a CoS where there is no genuine vacancy or role which meets the Tier 2 or 5 criteria – if you assign a CoS and we do not consider that it is for a genuine vacancy, we reserve the right to suspend your licence, pending further investigation which may result in your licence being revoked
  •  only allow the migrant to undertake the specific role set out in their CoS –
    • only assign a CoS to migrants who you believe will meet the
      requirements of the tier or category, and are likely to comply with the
      conditions (‘rules’) of leave or worker authorisation; the
      requirements and conditions of leave or worker authorisation are set
      out in the Immigration Rules and the Accession of Croatia
      (Immigration and Worker Authorisation) Regulations 2013 for
      Croatian nationals only
  • disclose if you assign a CoS to a family member of anyone else within the sponsor organisation if it is classed as a small or medium sized business, or if you are aware that you are assigning a CoS to a family member of anyone else within a sponsor organisation classed as a large business – this should be done via the ‘notes’ field on the CoS
  • only employ migrants in a shortage occupation listed in Appendix K of the Immigration Rules if you qualify to sponsor the migrants, where there are restrictions on who can sponsor them
  •  comply with UK employment law, for example, National Minimum Wage and paid holiday entitlement
  •  hold suitable planning permission or Local Planning Authority consent to run your type/class of business at your trading address (where this is a Local Authority requirement)
  •  if you are a food business, be registered with or approved by the relevant food authority
  •  if you are employing a migrant who is working for you on a Work Permit, you must comply with all associated conditions, for example, you must pay them at or above the rate of pay shown on the Work Permit
  •  only assign a CoS to a migrant if you are satisfied that they intend and are able to fill the role
  •  where applicable, only assign a CoS for a role which is at or above the minimum skill level as set out in this guidance
  •  only employ a migrant who has had a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, where this is a requirement for the role

Genuine vacancy

A genuine vacancy is one which:

  •  requires the jobholder to perform the specific duties and responsibilities for the job and meets all of the requirements of the tier and category – if you have already assigned a CoS, the vacancy must be for the period of employment stated on the CoS
  •  does not include dissimilar and/or lower-skilled duties

We may request additional information and/or evidence from you or the migrant to establish this requirement, and may refuse the migrant’s application if this is not provided within our deadline.

Examples of vacancies that are not considered to be genuine include but are not limited to:

  •  one which contains an exaggerated or incorrect job description to deliberately make it appear to meet the requirements of the tier and category when it does not
  • for a job or role that does not exist in order to enable a migrant to come to, or stay in, the UK
  •  advertisements with requirements that are inappropriate for the job on offer, and have been tailored to exclude resident workers from being recruited