How to behave during a Home
Office compliance visit

As an employer of Tier 2 migrant workers it is likely that you will receive a visit from the Home Office to affirm that you are complying with all aspects of the UK immigration rules. The Home Office aims to audit the compliance of every Tier 2 sponsor at least once, and could arrive at your offices without any prior warning.

The Home Office will assess your organisation’s ability to comply with its duties as a Tier 2 sponsor licence holder and its representatives could be on site for up to three hours to complete the necessary review of your systems. These checks will focus on whether or not you have satisfactory procedures in place to capture key information such as workplace absences, visa expiry dates and changes in employee data.

When the enforcement team visits…

Be friendly and co-operative

Home Office representatives are humans too and compliance visits can proceed more smoothly if the visiting officers are made to feel welcome. First impressions count, so making it clear that you are willing to help them in their task is a good starting point.

Ensure that the relevant staff members are available

Make sure that the right members of staff are available for the audit. Nothing will set Home Office alarm bells ringing quicker than unsure or inaccurate descriptions of your compliance procedures. Whether you are forewarned of the visit or not, it is perfectly acceptable to request for Home Office representatives to return at a time when the necessary staff members are available.

Be familiar with your compliance systems

Staff should be aware of their role in their organisation’s compliance efforts, so training these employees in the full extent of the duties is essential to retaining your licence. To ensure that all responsibilities are covered, this training should go beyond the HR function and include those in management roles as well as the sponsored migrants themselves.

Be prepared to demonstrate your procedures 

All relevant staff members should be able to explain and demonstrate compliance procedures with familiarity and confidence if asked to do so by the Home Office. They may also be required to adequately explain areas of apparent non-compliance should
any be identified.

Consult an immigration expert

An immigration expert can quickly highlight those areas which need improvement in preparation for an inspection, as well as advising on how these areas can be made audit-ready. You might also want to have an immigration adviser with you on the day of inspection. Demonstrating your commitment to complying with UK immigration law will increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

At Smith Stone Walters, we regularly conduct mock audits at the request of clients. Contact us to discuss how a bespoke audit can help your organisation reach its immigration compliance goals.

Further reading

What happens at a compliance audit?

How the Home Office conducts right to work checks and migrant interviews


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