The Home Office will visit Tier 2 sponsorship licence holders to verify the information given in the sponsorship licence application. Visits will be made to the sponsor’s business premises, with or without prior notice. Sponsors should be well prepared at all times for these compliance audits.
A visit can take place whilst the application is pending or thereafter. Audit visits are required to verify the sponsor’s ability to comply with requirements and responsibilities on an ongoing basis.
During these audit visits, the sponsor must be ready and prepared to produce requested documentation and other evidence to show compliance with Immigration rules.
The officer will evaluate record keeping, monitoring systems and general compliance with sponsor duties. More specifically, they will check:
What happens during the audit visit?
The Home Officer will usually interview the authorising officer and other key personnel. The officer will investigate how the employer conducted the resident labour market test and how right to work obligations and checks are implemented.
What can the sponsor do to be prepared?
Sponsors should be up to date with their duties and responsibilities and ensure that HR systems are in place to comply with sponsor duties.
If the sponsor receives prior notification of an audit visit, the sponsor may request a postponement to a more convenient time. A postponement might be a good idea to ensure that your house is in order. However, the visit may be unannounced, so the sponsor should always be prepared for an audit visit.
To be prepared for an unannounced visit, sponsors should:
Check that the authorising officer understands the sponsor licence and the duties. They must be prepared to answer questions about whether the worker is suitably skilled, whether the recruitment process complied with Home Office rules and whether the workers are paid according to the visa. The authorising officer must have a general understanding of employment law and understand legal compliance and ensure that they are up to date with immigration rules.
It is a good idea to carry out mock-audits and make notes of areas where systems can be improved. Implement improvements.
If you do not have the HR personnel or systems in place to manage your sponsorship licence, you should instead employ immigration consultants to manage your sponsor licence.
The outcome of an audit visit can have significant consequences for the business. It is critical to be prepared and ready.
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