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Home Office Warning to Sponsors for Inactive SMS

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We’re aware that the Home Office’s Sponsor, Assurance and Investigations Team have contacted some sponsor licence holders by email to warn of inactivity on their Sponsorship Management System.

Sponsor licence holders are required to keep their SMS records up to date, or risk enforcement action. This includes ensuring your key personnel details are up to date.

The email says:

“We have tried to contact both Mr X  & Ms X, who are shown as the Authorising Officer and Key Contact for the above company/organisation, on the following numbers XXXXXXXXXXX & XXXXXXXXXXXX, as detailed on your Sponsor Licence. Our attempt has been unsuccessful.

Please note that it is a condition of your sponsorship licence that records are kept up to date.

Please see the appropriate user manual on the following link if you are unsure how to maintain these records: SMS Guide 2: Managing your licence.

Our records show that the following Level 1 user(s) have not logged in to the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) in over 12 months: Mr X

The guidance includes the following pertinent paragraphs:

Paragraph L10.4:

You need to access your SMS account regularly to review and update your licence details and to keep up to date with the latest news, messages, and any changes that may be coming up. We recommend that your Level 1 User accesses your account at least once a month.

Paragraph L4.31:

You must have at least one Level 1 User who is an employee, a partner or a director. If you have more than one Level 1 User, any additional Level 1 Users must be one of the following:

  • a paid staff member or office holder within your organisation
  • an employee of a third-party organisation engaged by you to deliver all or part of your HR function
  • a UK-based representative

Please review your current list of Level 1 Users and also the contact details of your Authorising Officer and Key Contact as shown on your sponsor licence. If any amendments are required, please ensure that these are undertaken on SMS within the next 10 working days.

If you no longer have an authorised Level 1 User within your organisation then please complete the manual Change of Circumstances form to request the required changes via the following link:  Sponsor change of circumstances form – GOV.UK.”


What should you do if you receive the email?

Sponsors should consider the email as a warning to address potential compliance breaches and avoid further investigation or attention from the Home Office.

If you receive this email from the Home Office,  it is advisable to take action quickly to assess the current status of your licence.

  • Check your key personnel details – has anybody left and needs to be replaced on the system?
  • Check all contact details are correct and up to date.
  • Use the Change of Circumstances form to notify of relevant changes.
  • Have a process in place requiring the level 1 user to log in to the SMS at least once a month to check details.

While the email doesn’t make clear the consequences of failing to act, we do know that under the sponsorship rules, employers can face enforcement action if they fail to meet their compliance duties. This could include suspension or revocation of the licence, which will impact your ability to continue employing sponsored workers.


Need assistance?

We support sponsors with licence checks and audits. We also deliver specialist training for Level 1 and Level 2 SMS users to empower your team to manage your organisation’s licence effectively and in full compliance with your obligations.

If you have any questions about using the SMS to update records or key personnel details, or on any aspect of sponsor licence compliance, do get in touch.

Last updated: 26 April 2022

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