Sponsor Licence Suspension
If your sponsor licence been suspended, you need to act quickly to avoid further disruption to your business.
We can help to protect your sponsor licence.
Sponsor licence suspension
A suspended sponsor licence can be damaging to your business, affecting your permission to sponsor migrant workers.
The Home Office has the power to suspend a sponsor licence where it alleges an organisation has failed to manage its licence correctly and to meet its immigration compliance duties.
If you have received formal notification from UKVI that your company’s sponsorship licence is at risk of suspension, your next steps will be business-critical.
Depending on the facts of the case, your options could include challenging the Home Office’s decision to suspend the licence. You will also need to act fast to determine how you will respond and to submit your response within the given timeframe.
Failing to respond on time is likely to result in your licence being revoked.
We can help
DavidsonMorris’ team of specialist UK immigration lawyers bring substantial experience in advising companies facing a sponsor licence suspension.
With expertise in challenging licence suspensions and reinstating employers’ permission to employ sponsored workers, we can minimise the impact of a suspended licence on your business operations.
Whether you have been given initial warning that a licence suspension is being considered, or whether the licence has been suspended, we can help. Our services include:
- Assisting with understanding the grounds for suspension
- Advice on collating the supporting evidence
- Advice on remedial steps to address areas of non-compliance
- Support in engaging with UKVI
- Advice and support in relation to any subsequent follow-up scrutiny such as Home Office site visit
At the initial stage,we will assess all the facts and merits of your case to identify grounds to appeal the Home Office’s decision.
We would review the facts of your case, including the alleged breaches as notified by the Home Office and your current general position to ascertain areas for challenge, such as weaknesses in the investigation process.
We would then provide a recommended course of action, advising on all compliance and evidentiary requirements critical to a prompt response and dealing with Home Office officials on your behalf. This could take one of many approaches, determined by the strength of your position and the case against you.
This will inevitably involve careful liaison with the Home Office, which we would undertake on your behalf. The aim is to negotiate to bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion for both parties whereby the Home office is satisfied the issues raised in the suspension letter are addressed and the employer is able to retain their licence.
In instances where early resolution is not possible, while rare, we are experienced in managing any resulting court proceedings. This may include making an application for interim relief preventing the Home Office from taking your matter to revocation while court proceedings are live. This will be in the interests of your sponsored workers, who will be forced to find alternative entry clearance or to leave the country should your licence be revoked.
If you are facing a sponsor licence suspension
Having received the notification, you will need to act quickly. You will be given a deadline of 20 working days by which date you must have responded to the Home Office.
You must not ignore the letter. Failure to respond will almost certainly result in further action being taken against your organisation, which could include revocation of the licence.
The notification letter will detail the grounds for suspension, which you must address carefully and in detail in your response to the Home Office.
Taking professional advice can help to identify your options and ensure you respond in way that addresses the Home Office’s immediate concerns and identifies necessary remedial steps. For example, is there a factual error in the stated grounds that can be challenged with supporting evidence? Are there measures you need to take or have already taken to rectify the breach?
Engaging with the Home Office throughout the process will be critical in demonstrating your commitment to meeting the duties placed on your organisation.
Your response will need to be thorough and robust on all points. Extensive and compelling documentary evidence should be collected to support your position.
You should also prepare for a site inspection from immigration enforcement officials if you haven’t already been visited.
What happens after the investigation?
Following receipt of your response the Home Office will carry out further investigations into your organisation and its compliance.
As a result, your licence could be reinstated if the Home Office is satisfied the issues have been addressed, or your licence could be downgraded or revoked altogether if officials are not satisfied with your response to the allegations or if you have failed to respond.
If your licence rating is downgraded, ie; reinstated but with a “B” rather than an “A” rating, you will be required to pay for an action plan for a feee to help reinstate your “A” licence rating.
If your licence is revoked, there is no right of appeal and you won’t be allowed to apply for a sponsor licence again until the end of the appropriate cooling-off period, to run from the date your licence is revoked.
This will also mean that any leave granted to migrant workers currently in the UK will be curtailed, and if they fail to find sponsored employment promptly with another sponsor licence holder they will be asked to leave the UK.
For help and advice with reinstating your sponsor licence following a suspension, please contact us.
Sponsor licence suspension FAQs
How long do I have to respond to the Home Office?
In most cases, you will have 20 days from the date of the notification to respond to the Home Office. The notification letter will state the deadline you need to work to.
Can you appeal a sponsor licence suspension?
You can challenge the decision by responding to the suspension notification within 20 days, providing evidence to support your argument for reinstatement of the licence.
Does a sponsor licence suspension affect visa workers?
Your sponsored workers can continue to work for you during the suspension. Their visas will only be affected directly if the Home Office takes the decision to revoke the sponsor licence.