Is your organisation facing a sponsor licence revocation? We can help deal with a revoked sponsor licence.
If you have received formal notification from the Home Office that your company’s sponsorship licence is at risk of revocation, your next steps will be crucial in determining the resulting impact on your business.
A revoked sponsor licence means your organisation has lost its permission to lawfully employ sponsored workers across all sponsorship visa categories. It is a highly damaging, punitive measure, impacting an organisation’s operations and resulting in curtailed visas for its sponsored employees, who must then find employment with another sponsor or leave the country.
Following a sponsor licence revocation, the organisation will also be prohibited from applying for a new licence for a specified cooling off period, which in most cases is 12 months from the date the sponsor licence was revoked.
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Licence revocations are extremely daunting for sponsors, and must be handled effectively to maintain any potential for reinstating the licence and avoiding further punitive action.
We can advise on the options open to you, in light of the severity of the alleged breaches, the number of sponsored employees that will be affected and your conduct and that of the Home Office during any investigations.
There is no right of appeal against a decision to revoke a sponsor licence, however there may be grounds for Judicial Review of the revocation decision. Our sponsor licence specialists have particular expertise in advising on the merits of applying for a Judicial Review and guiding sponsors through the challenge process through experienced legal advice and representation.
In some circumstances, it may make better financial and commercial sense to accept the revocation and use the cooling off period to address the issues that have resulted in the licence being revoked.
This could include developing and implementing HR processes and procedures to ensure compliant practices are in place, and delivering training to all relevant internal personnel. Any application for a new sponsor licence will need to evidence that the previous revocation grounds have been corrected and any new licence would be compliant and managed as required by the rules.
As a sponsor licence holder, you are required by law to meet a number of duties in relation to the management of your sponsor licence.
The Home Office takes a vigilant approach to immigration enforcement and has powers to revoke a sponsor licence where the organisation has failed to comply with its immigration compliance duties or to engage actively with the Home Office.
Revocations can be used by the Home Office in many different circumstances, and usually result from the failure of the sponsor to address issues raised following a sponsor licence suspension, or where employers have acted fraudulently and provided false information in their licence application, COS allocation or on the sponsorship management system.
Poor record keeping is a common breach, particularly if personnel records relating to sponsored workers are not kept up to date.
Failure to notify the Home Office of changes in circumstances – relating both to migrant employees and the organisation – can also trigger punitive action, as can inconsistencies in information relating to the sponsored roles, such as salary and job duties, which should be consistent with the details given on the COS.
Revocations can also result where an employer has failed to follow the stipulated action plan following a licence downgrade to a B’ rating.
Given the severe implications of a sponsor licence revocation, it will be important to take immediate legal advice on your options.
Any decision you make in terms of next steps should be well informed and based on specialist assessment of all the facts. Any response you make to the Home Office must be evidence-based and should address the allegations that have been made against the organisation.
You will be required to respond to the notification within the given timeframe taking into account the grounds for revocation as stated by the Home Office in the notification letter.
Our experts will assess your case by considering a range of factors which could help to justify a reversal of the Home Office’s decision. For example, from the details given by the Home Office, are they justified in taking the most severe of enforcement measures against your business? If your sponsor licence is revoked, what will be the full impact on your business and the wider economic implications on job security for other non-sponsored workers? Are there any factual errors which can be challenged and corrected through evidence? Where non-compliance is not disputed, how will you rectify the issues?
We support employers in building a strong and compelling response to the Home Office, by interviewing members of staff, preparing statements, collating documents, obtaining documents from other government agencies such as HMRC to be able to respond to the allegations that have been made.
For help and advice with reinstating your sponsor licence revocation, please contact us.
Speak to our sponsor licence specialists for advice on your specific circumstances and the options available to you to deal with a revoked sponsor licence.
Should your licence be revoked, any pending sponsored visa applications from potential employees or existing sponsored employees will be refused and your existing sponsor workers’ leave will be curtailed. You will lose permission to recruit and employ workers from all visa categories under the licence and the organisation will be removed from the register of sponsors.
There is no right of appeal against a decision to revoke a sponsor licence. In limited circumstances, there may be grounds for Judicial Review of the revocation decision.
Following a sponsor licence revocation, the organisation will be prohibited from applying for a new licence for a specified cooling-off period. In most cases, this would be 12 months, but can extend to five years if the breach is sufficiently serious.