Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence: Guidance in preparing for a Home Office inspection visit audit

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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:

  • That the information given is accurate and complete.
  • The sponsor is genuine and trading and operating lawfully in the UK.
  • The sponsor can offer employment, and the vacancy is genuine.
  • There is no reason to believe the sponsor is a threat to immigration control.
  • The sponsor understands and is complying to all the duties of sponsorship.
  • That the company has systems in place to ensure compliance.

What happens during the audit visit?

  • The officer may inspect the premises and verify information given during the application.
  • Check that you are complying with sponsor duties such as monitoring and record keeping.
  • Speak to sponsored workers, including previously sponsored workers.
  • Interview people involved in the recruitment of workers.
  • Inspect records and HR systems to ensure compliance.
  • Make sure that the sponsor is not employing illegal workers.
  • Review sponsored workers’ files.

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:

  • Review all files regularly.
  • Keep filing up to date and check that all information is up to date; any changes must be reported.
  • Review all right to work documentation – make sure that copies of all passports and visa documentation are on file.
  • Make sure records and files are organised and easily accessible.
  • Use checklists.
  • Prepare key personnel.

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.


You can request consultation from our immigration lawyers over the phone as in person.

Mann’s Solutions is international immigration law firm with offices in London, Hong Kong and Moscow and has expertise in offering UK Visas and Immigration by Investment services to high net worth individuals. Our immigration lawyers regulated by OISC (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner).

For further information or to discuss your personal circumstances in a private consultation with our immigration lawyers in London Office, please contact us at enquiries@manns-solutions.com or call +44 207 993 63 46.