Generally speaking, a UK sponsor employs migrant workers that must be sponsored to legally work in the UK. A company with a valid UK sponsor licence is obligated to carry out certain duties and responsibilities in line with immigration law.
What is the job of a sponsor?
The job of a UK sponsor is to ensure that a foreign migrant worker is legally employed in the UK. This involves making sure that the role they are doing is genuinely required in the company and that they are being paid the appropriate salary for the job. The worker must have relevant experience and be given a specific job title that is on the Home Office list of occupations.
In addition, the sponsor will need to make sure that the worker is complying with the conditions of their visa including turning up to work and not overstaying their permission to be in the UK.
What are the responsibilities of a sponsor?
A UK sponsor has a number of responsibilities according to the immigration rules such as reporting duties, record keeping duties, monitoring duties, and complying with immigration and employment laws more generally.
Record keeping duties
A sponsor is responsible for maintaining accurate records and keeping hold of certain documentation. The Home Office has a comprehensive list of all records that must be kept which includes some of the following:
- Evidence of conducting right-to-work checks (checking permission to be in the UK and ID)
- The documents provided for the sponsor licence application
- Evidence of recruitment
- Proof of salary
A sponsor must report certain information to the Home Office within a specific time frame. The information must be reported through the Sponsor Management System (SMS).
The following information must be reported within 10 working days:
- If the sponsored worker does not start the job on the agreed start date.
- A worker is absent from work for 10 days in a row without your permission.
- If the worker’s employment ends sooner than expected (they resign or are dismissed).
- The sponsor stops sponsoring the worker for any reason.
- There are changes to the worker’s employment such as changes in job description or salary.
- The sponsoring company is being taken over by another and TUPE arrangements are in place.
- The following information must be reported within 20 working days:
- Significant changes happen within the business such as a change in address, change of name, or the company becomes insolvent.
A full list of the reporting duties can be found here.
A UK sponsor must keep track of an employee’s absences from work including holidays and sickness periods.
Responsibility to comply with UK law
Sponsors must act in accordance with UK law more generally such as ensuring that the workers are being paid at least the national minimum wage and providing the right amount of breaks and holiday entitlement.
Depending on the sector in which the company operates, it must also be registered with the required regulatory bodies and authorities and not engage in any criminal activity.