Sponsor licenses are an integral part of any company that is looking forward to hiring foreign employees. But maintaining and complying to this licence is essential and if it gets suspended, the problem could turn overwhelming.
If you are wondering what this situation can lead to in the UK, you are in the right place. This article will explore all the possibilities, the application process, and how to prepare for this situation.
What is a sponsor licence?
Sponsor licences are a legal requirement that allows foreign workers to work or study in the country. UK-based employers need to apply for a sponsor licence to employ overseas. These are classified as Worker Licences and Temporary Worker Licences.
However, they may also be suspended in some scenarios.
Common reasons behind sponsor licence suspension
The Home Office may choose to suspend the licence for a number of reasons, some of which are as follows:
- Concerns about the vacancy
- Failing to pay the employee according to the sponsor’s instructions
- Ineffective HR policies and practices
- Noncompliance with record-keeping obligations
Apart from keeping records, one has a legal duty as a licenced sponsor to notify specific concerns to the Home Office about the migrant workers that are sponsored. These include recurring non-attendance, non-compliance, or disappearance.
Failure to respond to changes like the company’s change of address, change in authority, or opening or closing of a UK branch can also result in suspension. Moreover, establishing or terminating an overseas branch, subsidiary firm, or connected corporation should also be informed on time to avoid future problems.
Significant organisational changes, such as takeovers, acquisitions, mergers, and TUPE transfers, must be disclosed to UKVI within 28 days after the event. Such changes will usually have consequences for a sponsor licence, and one may need to file a new licence application within the allocated 28 days.
Note: A suspended licence can have effects on both the workers and the company.
Effect of licence suspension on the workers
In case of licence suspension or cancellation, a migrant workers’ permission to remain in the country is restricted. The visa permits to stay for 60 days or the number of days left (if less than 60). One can choose to remain through an alternative route (if eligible), for example, if he gets sponsored by a new employer with a valid sponsor licence.
Effect of licence suspension on the company
If the sponsor licence is suspended in the UK by the Home Office, then the company will not be able to operate its business as usual. A business will be removed from the public register of sponsors till the time suspension is revoked. And one must comply with all the duties that come with the licence throughout the period of suspension.
Can you challenge the suspension?
To persuade the Home Office to reinstate the licence, strong evidence is required. In case of suspension, an answer to the suspension letter should be given within 20 working days to appeal the decision.
In case there was a factual error that resulted in suspension, one can contest it with additional information or explanation. These must be in writing with strong supporting material that refutes each of the issues raised in the letter. The issue should be thoroughly addressed in the response to the letter.
After this, the Home Office will decide what action to take depending on the representations and evidence provided by the sponsor.
There are many grounds on which the authorities may take a suspension action against a company. This might happen when a company does not keep up with the duties attached to the sponsor licence.
If you are a sponsored employer in the UK and your sponsor licence is suspended, make sure you speak to an immigration lawyer. You can check Mishoura and connect to the best legal advice to deal with this kind of situation or to get help regarding a sponsor licence application.