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More Companies face Home Office Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence and Tier 2 visa inspections

The Home Office recently suspended the sponsor licence of Chinese state-owned telecoms giant, ZTE following a routine compliance visit. The suspended licence was one used by overseas organisations to recruit foreign nationals to work in the UK. The Home Office stated ZTE had not fulfilled its duties.

Following government's pledge to reduce net migration figures to tens of thousands, the Home Office have stepped up inspections of premises of Tier 2 Sponsors.

What do the Home Office check when they visit?

  1. That the Tier 2 migrant is actively performing the role in which s/he was sponsored for. Home Office compliance officers ascertain this by interviewing the migrant, other employees and the employer. If the answer given by one party is significantly different from another party, then that's a red flag for UKBA compliance officers. They may also check proof of work. For example, looking at the company's internal management system if any, correspondences and any other available tool to determine the kind of work the Tier 2 migrant has been carrying out whilst working for the employer.
  2. Absences - Compliance officers will want to understand the systems in place by the company to identify when staff members are off sick or on annual leave. A simple question like when last was the migrant off sick or on annual leave. If the response is not coherent or the employer cannot point to logs or attendance sheets or any of such thing to show when the migrant is not at work then there is a problem. Generally, you don't pay people when they don't come to work, so if you cannot tell how long they have stayed out of work, then there is something fundamentally wrong with your HR and reporting system. The Home Office are therefore of the opinion that such an organisation is not fit to have a sponsor licence. In addition, the Home Office would also want to know that if for any reason, the migrant no longer comes to work or the Home Office is trying to reach them for any reason, you should be able to provide a valid address.
  3. HR records of all employees: - Importantly, existing legislations make it unlawful to employ illegal migrants. Right to work checks must be carried out by employers on all employees prior to the start of any employment. Right to work documents must also be properly filed, with efficient and effective reminders at due dates close the expiration if any, of right to work documents. The Home Office will be looking through the process of recruitment, right to work documents as well as establishing their validity. HR records must also show current addresses of all employees. It must be robust enough to highlight
  4. Awareness of your duties and responsibilities:- It is also important that both the employer and the Tier 2 migrant are fully aware of their duties and responsibilities. Home Office compliance officers will be looking to determine whether or not you aware of what you are supposed to be doing as an employer and employee with regards to your Tier 2 and sponsor licence. If you don't understand the rules, your duties and responsibilities, there is no way you can convince the Home Office that you will not or perhaps have not been in breach of your compliance duties. Click here to find out more about immigration compliance.
  5. Payroll vs Bank statement match: - There have been several instances where companies have actually underpaid their tier 2 migrants against what was stated on their Certificate of sponsorship. The Home Office will be looking at the payrolls and trying to match that with what actually goes into the migrant's bank account; this obviously will be measured against the salary role stated on the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). There is also the tricky one of where every month, the same amount (salary) enters and leave the Tier 2 migrant's bank account on the same day. And probably a day or few days later, that same amount is credited back into the company's bank account by cash from an anonymous depositor monthly. This is also a red flag and something the Home Office are aware of and will be watching out for.

How we can help

Reiss Edwards is a leading business immigration law firm based in London. We have lawyers and trained solicitors who have worked at the highest level on high profile business immigration cases. With over 40 years combined experience in tier 2 sponsor licences, you can be sure that only be best hands will be dealing with your case.

Should you need experts to carry out quick or detailed immigration compliance audits, or have been recently visited by the Home Office and had your sponsor licence revoked or downgraded, our lawyers offer free assessment to assist you. Contact us today on 02037442797 or send us an email on

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