Sponsor Duties

16th June 2023

What are sponsor duties and how to ensure compliance?

A UKVI sponsor licence allows you to meet your organisation’s staffing needs by offering access to a global talent market. However, it’s important to understand that being registered as a licenced sponsor comes with a series of responsibilities known as ‘sponsor duties’.

You must ensure that you remain compliant with your duties for the duration of your licence, which requires an understanding of the immigration rules and guidance. Additionally, you must be able to understand how to correctly manage the licence and when to take action to avoid non-compliance.

Audits, conducted both virtually and in-person, are a common tool used by the Home Office to verify that sponsors are complying with their duties. During an audit, the Home Office will look through the organisation’s HR systems to ensure that they are adequate. You can expect to receive an audit either before the licence is granted or renewed, or anytime during its validity.

As a UKVI sponsor licence holder, compliance is vital

Non-compliance with your sponsor duties can result in a licence downgrade, suspension or revocation. We can provide an intuitive HR software solution which makes light work of your compliance responsibilities.
What are Sponsor Duties?
  • Reporting Duties – reporting certain information or events using the sponsor management system (SMS) within specific time limits.
  • Record-Keeping Duties – keeping certain documents for each worker you sponsor. These documents can be kept in paper or electronic form.
  • Immigration Law Compliance – following the requirements set out in the Guidance and the UK immigration laws
  • Wider UK Law Compliance – abiding by UK law generally
  • Good Conduct – not engaging in behaviour or actions that are not conducive to the public good
1. Reporting Duties

Reporting changes relating to your sponsored workers’ circumstances must be done on the SMS system within 10 working days. Examples of such changes include:

  • A sponsored worker does not start the role for which they are being sponsored or there is a delay to their start date
  • A sponsored worker stops working for you earlier than shown on their CoS – for example, the worker resigns or is dismissed
  • Significant changes to the sponsored worker’s employment – such as a promotion or change in job title or core duties, a reduction in salary from the level stated on their CoS, or the location they are employed at changes.
  • A sponsored worker is absent from work for more than 10 consecutive working days without permission
  • Reporting changes relating to your business must be done on the SMS system within 20 working days. Examples of such changes include:
  • Your company’s name changes or the name of any of your branches changes
  • The business or part of the business is sold
  • You are involved in a merger/takeover
  • The nature of your business changes substantially

Other changes you must report

If you have any information that suggests that any worker you are sponsoring may be engaged in terrorism or criminal activity, you must contact the police.

2. Record-keeping duties

For each sponsored worker you must keep the following:

  • Evidence that you have checked that each of your sponsored workers has the legal right to work in the UK and do the work in question for you.
  • A copy of the worker’s National Insurance number
  • A history of the worker’s contact details – UK residential address, personal email address, telephone number. This must be kept up to date.
  • A copy of the worker’s DBS check where required for the role undertaken by the sponsored worker.
  • A record of the worker’s absences – may be kept electronically or manually

Additionally, you must retain evidence of any recruitment activity you have undertaken. If you did not advertise the role, you must be able to explain how you recruited the worker.

3. Immigration Law Compliance

In order to, remain compliant with this duty, you must ensure that you:

  • Only employ workers who are appropriately qualified, registered or experienced to do the job
  • Keep a copy of any registration document, certificate or reference that confirms they meet the requirements of the specific job
  • Not employ workers where they do not have the experience, qualifications, or immigration permission to do the job
  • Not assign a CoS where there is no genuine vacancy or role which meets the Worker or Temporary Worker criteria
4. Wider UK Law Compliance
  • Comply with UK employment law
  • Comply with the National Minimum Wage
  • Hold suitable planning permission, local planning authority consent or any legally required licence registration or approval to run your type of business
  • If you are required to be registered with or inspected or monitored by a statutory body to operate lawfully in the UK, you must ensure you are registered with the appropriate body
  • Only employ a worker who has had a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, where this is a lawful requirement for the role
5. Good Conduct

You must ensure that you or your business are not engaging in behaviour or actions that are not conducive to the public good. The Home Office will not license organisations who’s actions and behaviour are non-conducive. Such actions and behaviour include but are not limited to:

  • Fostering hatred or inter-community division
  • Fomenting, justifying or glorifying terrorism
  • Rejecting the rights of, or discriminating against, other groups or individuals on the basis of their sex, age, disability, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership status, race, or religion or belief (including lack of belief

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