Since Brexit, sponsor licences are a necessary tool for an increasing number of employers in the UK who wish to recruit migrant workers.

However, it is important to note that sponsor licences bring with them a number of compliance duties, many of which are easily missed or overlooked by employers as part of their normal house-keeping. Many of these duties arise even if the sponsor has few or no sponsored migrants. This has been brought into the spotlight by a recent change in UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) practices. It is very important sponsors act now to ensure their licence is up to date.

We understand that UKVI’s new practice is, where it identifies that a licence has not been accessed on the sponsorship management system (SMS) for 12 months, to contact the sponsor and give them 10 working days to ensure their licence details (in particular their key personnel) are correct and up to date.

Below we highlight the top 5 organisation and top 5 migrant changes which need to be updated on the SMS, or given greater consideration, but are commonly missed by sponsors.

Top 5 organisation changes

Changes to:

  • registered name of business and/or address;
  • sponsor contact details (telephone and email);
  • key personnel (authorising officer, key contact, level 1 and/or 2 users – remember only level 1 and 2 users have SMS access);
  • size of sponsor (from a small to large sponsor or vice versa); and
  • immediate ownership.

Top 5 migrant changes

Changes to:

  • place of work;
  • job title / duties;
  • hours of work;
  • start date; and
  • immigration category (or termination of employment).

Action sponsors should take immediately

  • Ensure you have SMS access through a current level 1 user (log-in details must not be shared). If you have lost access our business immigration team can assist in resolving this.
  • Review your licence summary information on the SMS to ensure this remains correct.
  • Review your level 1 and 2 users to ensure the list is correct and up-to-date.
  • Diarise regular SMS access to review the licence and migrant details (this should be done at least monthly).

Our business immigration team have extensive expertise in sponsor licence compliance and, when added to a sponsor licence, provide regular enhanced licence compliance health checks for our clients. If you require guidance on the reporting and record-keeping duties imposed upon sponsors please let us know.

For further news and updates on employment law developments as they happen, please follow our specialist Employment Law Twitter Feed @TLT_Employment and subscribe to our Employment Law Focus podcast – the latest episode, on race discrimination, is available here#

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at May 2022. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions.

Written by

Joanne Hennessy

Joanne Hennessy

Date published

11 May 2022


View all