If you’re applying for your first Sponsor Licence or seeking renewal, you may be subject to inspection by immigration officials.

Organisations holding a UK Sponsor Licence must also adhere to strict compliance obligations as part of their Sponsor Licence responsibilities. The Home Office may visit you at any point during your licence period, often without prior warning.

If immigration officers uncover problems during an inspection, your organisation could face punitive measures. Your Sponsor Licence application could be denied, or if you already possess a licence, it could be suspended or even revoked, affecting your sponsored employees’ visas.

Why conduct an immigration assessment?

While Sponsor Licence holders have specific duties, the Home Office’s Prevention of Illegal Working regime imposes additional mandatory obligations on all UK employers.

If the Home Office determines a violation of these duties, the employer becomes susceptible to the civil penalty scheme, potential criminal sanctions and restrictions on sponsoring non-EEA nationals for work in the UK.

It is crucial for UK organisations to maintain the necessary evidence of employees’ right to work and ensure HR systems and processes comply with regulations.

Failing to obtain proper permission to employ overseas workers and perform all required documentation checks can result in fines of up to £20,000 per worker and, in some cases, even imprisonment.

The Home Office has the authority to carry out site inspections, examine employers’ immigration compliance systems and processes, review personnel records and interview migrant workers.

The Home Office is not required to provide advance notice of their visit. In fact, during a Sponsor Licence renewal, you will likely be visited by officials to confirm compliance with your licence duties over the past four years, determining your eligibility for renewal.

Site visits can be stressful, and even employers with a solid understanding of the rules can inadvertently violate their duties if their processes and documents have not been regularly reviewed.

How Five Star can help

We provide a compliance audit service that significantly lightens the load of ensuring that your company complies with all immigration regulations.

With over 20 years’ of experience, our team is regulated to Level 3 of the OISC and has a proven track record in performing immigration assessments and advising employers on compliance with their obligations.

UK Sponsor Licence holders have various duties and compliance requirements, including:

  • Obtaining and maintaining a sponsorship licence by demonstrating your organisation’s genuine operation, awareness of sponsorship duties and proper HR and recruitment systems.
  • Assigning Certificates of Sponsorship to eligible non-UK resident workers.
  • Record-keeping for the organisation and all sponsored workers, including copies of relevant documents such as passports, biometric residence permits, employment contracts, National Insurance numbers, contact details and records of absences.
  • Proactively notifying the Home Office of changes in circumstances, such as changes in employment status, employee absences or organisational changes, within specified timeframes.
  • Updating the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) regularly to provide an accurate snapshot of your organisation’s licence and sponsored workers.
  • Ensuring compliance with illegal working requirements, verifying employees’ right to work in the UK and retaining copies of relevant documentation.
  • Training and briefing staff on their compliance duties and responsibilities.
  • Co-operating with Home Office inspections and audits to demonstrate ongoing compliance with sponsorship licence duties.

Failure to comply with these duties and requirements can result in penalties, such as suspension, downgrading or revocation of your Sponsor Licence, affecting your ability to employ non-UK resident workers and the sponsored workers’ right to stay and work in the UK.

Our audit and compliance service

Our audit and compliance service examines various aspects of compliance, including:

  • Right-to-Work document verification systems and processes – acceptable documents, document inspection timing, annotation & storage of copies and scheduling further necessary checks.
  • Procedures to prevent discrimination while adhering to Prevention of Illegal Working Requirements.
  • Systems addressing immigration requirements, such as permitted working hours for students on Tier 4 visas.
  • Systems addressing sponsorship requirements, including minimum skill levels & minimum salary levels, and prioritising settled workers when advertising job vacancies.
  • Systems addressing a Sponsor Licence holder’s obligation to report to the Home Office on events related to the sponsored migrants’ employment and circumstances, as well as certain business changes.

We will provide sample documentation, changes and recommendations for system enhancements where needed.


Sponsorship and compliance for employers

At Five Star, we can provide you with the guidance and support you need to ensure that the sponsorship process is completed quickly and efficiently – we’re with you at every stage.

Connect with our winning team and let us guide you through your immigration journey.

Contact us