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  • Kumarlo Menns

Cracking sponsor compliance visits

The Government’s stated aim of creating a “hostile environment” for illegal migration has resulted in an intense focus upon the activities of Tiers 2, 4 and 5 sponsors.

This has resulted in such sponsors being subjected to intrusive compliance visits both at the application stage and during the life of the licence, once granted.

In our experience, businesses that are most prone to be subjected to an inspection visit (whether announced or unannounced/surprise visits) are those which operate in the hospitality sector, private educational establishments; start-up businesses and sponsors with a history of non-compliance.

Time and again, such prospective and existing sponsors have complained about the manner in which such visits are conducted. The prevailing observation is that such visits are conducted in an oppressive manner and with the aim of finding some fault with the existing systems and procedures.

In our experience, there are a number of steps which sponsors can take in order to ensure that the compliance visit runs both smoothly and effectively.

As such, sponsors are advised to:

o Immediately carry out an HR audit – sponsor obligations change often. It is therefore essential that the internal policies and procedures are kept up to date.

o Action any changes or reports that need to be made prior to the visit.

o Ensure that it strictly complies with its internal policies and procedures. In instances where a sponsor finds the need to depart from a particular policy or procedure, then it should prepare detailed reasons/justification for doing so in the event of questioning by the compliance officers

o Ensure that all of the key personnel and administrative staff are aware and fully appraised of the latest sponsor duties and obligations as contained in policy documents and/or immigration rules.

o Regularly undergo mock compliance visits in order to test the efficiency and integrity of the sponsor’s internal policies, procedures and records.

Our experienced team of legal advisers will be able to assist with the preparation for and attendance at compliance visits. We are able to attend visits in the London region at relatively short notice.

In our experience, the presence of legal representatives during the course of inspection visits ensures that the visit is conducted in a fair and proper manner thereby diminishing the risk of adverse decisions being subsequently taken against prospective or existing sponsors.

Please contact us for further details.

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