What happens if your
sponsor licence is

Once you have applied for and successfully secured a sponsor licence for your business, it is important to keep on top of your ongoing sponsor duties to avoid adverse action being taken against you.

Failure to comply with your legal obligations as a licensed sponsor could result in your licence being downgraded, suspended or revoked. Each of these actions will have different consequences for your business, and the type of action the Home Office decides to take against you will depend on the individual circumstances and the severity of your non-compliance.

The action of revoking a sponsor licence is generally reserved for the most serious breaches, and means that your sponsor licence will be cancelled entirely.

What are the business implications if a sponsor licence is revoked?

Revocation of your sponsor licence will result in serious repercussions for your business and the migrant staff you employ.  If your sponsor licence is revoked, your organisation will be removed from the register of sponsors and you will not be able to reapply for a specified period of time, known as a ‘cooling-off period’.

Without an active sponsor licence in place, you will not be able to recruit new workers from outside the resident labour market, and you will not be able to continue employing your current sponsored workers. In addition to losing your sponsor licence, you may incur fines for your actions or inactions.

Having your sponsor licence revoked can cause significant disruption, financial loss and reputational damage to your business. Perhaps more alarmingly, your existing sponsored workers may also face having their remaining immigration permission cancelled or shortened, and may need to leave the UK if they do not make another successful application for permission to stay.

Which circumstances may lead to a sponsor licence being revoked?

Examples of circumstances listed in the Home Office guidance in which a sponsor licence may be revoked include:

  • You no longer have, or never had, a trading or an operating presence in the UK
  • You no longer meet the requirements of the route, or routes, in which you are licensed
  • There is a serious or systematic breach of your sponsor duties
  • You pose a threat to immigration control
  • You have been convicted of a relevant criminal offence or issued with a specified civil penalty
  • You are engaging or have engaged in behavior or actions that are not conducive to the public good
  • You are found to have knowingly supplied false information in your sponsor licence application, and had you given the correct information, your application would have been refused.

The above list is not exhaustive, and adverse action taken against sponsors will be dealt with by Home Office caseworkers on a case-by-case basis. More information on the circumstances in which your licence may be revoked can be found in Annex C1 of the guidance for sponsors.

What is the process for revoking a sponsor licence?

Depending on the circumstances, your sponsor licence may be revoked immediately and without warning, or it may be suspended pending further investigation.

You will be informed in writing if your licence has been revoked. Your organisation’s details will then be removed from the public register of Worker and Temporary Worker sponsors, and the Home Office will cancel the permission of any workers you are sponsoring. There is no right of appeal once a decision has been made to revoke a sponsor licence.

Will I be able to reapply for a sponsor licence in the future?

Once your licence has been revoked, you will usually be subject to a 12-month ‘cooling-off period’. This means that you will not be able to make a further application for a new licence until at least 12 months have passed since the date you were notified of the revocation. In some circumstances, the cooling-off period may be longer than 12 months. For example, if the revocation was due to certain civil penalties or criminal convictions.

If you attempt to make an application before the cooling-off period has passed, it will be refused. If you apply again after the cooling-off period, the Home Office will treat your application the same as any other application. However, you must be able to demonstrate that you have addressed any reasons why your previous licence was revoked before you reapply.

Ensuring ongoing compliance

Embedding a culture of compliance within your organisation is crucial to maintaining best practice and ensuring you can continue to meet your sponsor duties.

Smith Stone Walters can provide training for your staff on how to maintain your sponsor licence and ensure ongoing compliance. To find out how we can help, please contact us today.

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