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Understanding Sponsor Licence Compliance - The basics

The question that readily comes to mind is, what immigration compliance is and what can organisations do to remain compliant?

Immigration compliance refers to the mechanisms and structures put in place by organizations to ensure that they are adhering to their legal obligations with regards to preventing illegal working and other immigration related issues at work.

As complex as the term 'sponsor license compliance' sounds, its true meaning and effective implementation is embedded in the very core of the initial sponsor license application. What does this mean? Everything that you did that got you the sponsor license, including the reasoning behind those actions, keep doing them!

A good understanding of the sponsor license application process as well as the rationale behind the process is key to evolving an effective compliance system within the organisation. We will now delve into the nitty gritty of the sponsor license application process.

Who can apply for a sponsor license?

There are no restrictions on the type of business that can apply for a sponsor license; as long as they are genuine and legally registered in the UK. Limited companies, partnerships, charities, and even starts ups set up by Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa holders are all able to apply for a sponsorship licence.

In the same vein, a business that is no longer in operation or has been closed for any reason cannot apply for a sponsorship license and if you cannot apply for a sponsor license, you cannot be thinking about immigration compliance. This means that the first step to remaining compliant is to legally and operationally exist.

Assigning roles

Companies with sponsor licenses are expected to assign immigration related roles to persons referred to as Account/Compliance Officers. The roles include: -

  • Authorised officer
  • Key contact
  • Level 1 user

It is important that for immigration compliance purposes, account/compliance officers are assigned in accordance to the prescribed immigration rules. Speak to one of our business immigration experts if you need any assistance.

We cannot overemphasise the fact that not only must the officers be based in the UK, they must not also be subject to any bankruptcy or debt relief restrictions. As a general principle, the Home Office would normally verify that there is no threat to immigration control by the key personnel. It is therefore important that the employer consciously makes sure of this as well. Previous convictions for immigration offences or any other related immigration offence will fall within the definitions of a 'threat to immigration control' and employers must endeavour to be aware of this.

How we can help

At Reiss Edwards, we have a dedication team of OISC regulated immigration solicitors who have trained in top immigration solicitor firms and will be more than happy to help with your immigration matter. Should you need to talk to someone about a mock audit, or a sponsor licence application or even a Tier 2 visa application, we offer a bundle (all in one) package that will allow us advice you on all these at the best price.

Contact us today for a free initial assessment on 02037442797 or send us an email on

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"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

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