From 27 November 2012 sponsor licences of employers (and educational institutions) will start to expire. Employers are therefore strongly advised to plan ahead and apply for a
renewal of their sponsor licence as soon as possible. A failure to apply for renewal of a licence before its expiry will result in:
– An inability to continue employing current non-EEA workers, with the accompanying risk of such workers initiating legal action against their former employers;
– An inability to employ any future non-EEA workers, including transferring established workers from international offices;
– All migrant workers having their visas curtailed and being forced to leave the UK unless they can secure alternative sponsored employment within 60 days;
– Some departing migrant workers being barred for 12 months from returning to work in the UK.
Employers are advised to carry out an internal audit before applying to renew their licences. Such an audit is prudent as it will ensure that a renewal application will not be refused due to the following breaches of sponsor duties:
– Out of date non-EEA worker details;
– Impermissible promotions or salary increases during non-EEA workers’ current employment;
– Inadequacy of HR records;
– Ineffective and inadequate internal compliance systems;
– Out of date “key personnel” details;
– Out of date sponsor details;
– Failure to update records following mergers or takeovers;
– Illegal employment of non-EEA workers.
The recent revocation of London Metropolitan University’s licence serves as a stark reminder of the importance of ensuring that all of the above sponsor duties are discharged.
Due to the fact that all sponsor licences will start expiring from 27 November 2012, there is likely to be a large number of
renewal applications in the following weeks. Employers and educational institutions are therefore advised to seek assistance at the earliest opportunity.