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What to do When Your Sponsor Licence is Suspended or Revoked?

If your sponsor licence has been suspended, this means that UKVI has concerns about your sponsorship compliance and has temporarily suspended your licence pending further investigations. If your sponsor licence has been revoked, this means that UKVI has made the decision to remove your ability to sponsor due to serious compliance concerns.

Receiving a notice from UKVI that your sponsor licence will be suspended, downgraded, or revoked can cause considerable business disruption. However, with the right approach, it is possible to reach a resolution in a timely manner.

In this article, we will explain the consequences of sponsor licence suspension and revocation for the employer and employee and what to do if a sponsor licence is revoked or you have a suspended licence of sponsorship.

Sponsor licence suspension and revocation consequences

The consequences of having a sponsor licence suspended or revoked are as follows:

Employee

Employer

Suspension

  • Existing sponsored employees can continue working
  • Sponsored workers already in the UK who are due to start work can do so
  • Applications to extend a work visa may be put on hold during the suspension period


  • You cannot issue new Certificates of Sponsorship.
  • Any pending applications for Certificates of Sponsorship will be put on hold.
  • UKVI will carry out an investigation before making a decision whether to revoke or downgrade your licence
  • If your licence is downgraded from an A-rating to a B-rating, you will have the opportunity to rectify problems in accordance with the action plan provided by UKVI.
  • Your business will be removed from the list of sponsors while suspended.
  • If your sponsor licence is due to expire during the suspension period, you will still need to apply for a renewal.

Revocation

  • Existing sponsored employees will have their leave curtailed (i.e. cancelled) - this means they have 60 days (or less depending on the time remaining on the visa) to leave the country or apply for a different type of visa
  • Cannot issue new Certificates of sponsorship
  • Any pending or on-hold applications for Certificates of Sponsorship will be cancelled/refused.
  • Subject to a cooling-off period - this means the business will not be able to apply for a new sponsor licence for 12 months.

What to do if your sponsor licence is suspended or revoked?

The first and most important point to remember if your sponsor licence is suspended or revoked is that to resolve the matter, you must cooperate with UKVI fully. This means replying to any correspondence by the deadline and providing any information requested. The following explains what to do if your sponsor's licence is suspended or revoked.

Sponsor licence suspended

In the event of a suspended licence, we recommend taking the following action:

  1. Engage the services of an immigration solicitor who can guide you through the process of having your sponsor's licence suspension lifted.
  2. Acknowledge receipt of the notice of suspension – it is important to respond in a timely and cooperative manner at all times.
  3. Carefully consider the reasons for your sponsor licence suspension and address each one. Where gaps have been identified in your reporting, record-keeping, or processes, these should be rectified immediately.
  4. Respond to UKVI’s notice of suspension in writing – the information you provide in your response letter will most likely make the difference between having your suspension lifted or a further investigation being carried out. You will have 20 days to respond to UKVI to challenge the suspension of your sponsor licence. It is vital that you understand and respond to each of the reasons for your sponsor licence suspension (i.e. have they made a mistake or have you put in place measures to resolve the matter). Any supporting evidence you can provide will go a long way to demonstrating you are compliant. UKVI will review your submission and then make a decision either to revoke or downgrade your licence.

Sponsor licence revoked

In the event that your sponsor licence is revoked by UKVI, we recommend taking the following action:

  1. Engage the services of an immigration solicitor who can guide you through the process of having your sponsor's licence reinstated.
  2. Acknowledge receipt of the notice of sponsor licence revocation – as stated above, it is vital that you respond in a timely manner and remain cooperative with UKVI at all times.
  3. Review the reasons for your sponsor licence revocation and determine the best strategy to deal with your suspension - You will not be able to appeal the decision, but you may decide to:
    1. Make the case that the revocation of your licence will have a significant impact on a large number of workers and is, therefore, a disproportionate response
    2. Apply for a Judicial Review to challenge the legality of the decision
    3. Accept the revocation
    4. Wait 12 months to apply for a new sponsor licence (this is the cooling-off period)
  4. Submit a written response to UKVI – this should explain how to intend to deal with the notice of revocation. If you plan to challenge the decision, you will need to provide plenty of evidence that a mistake has been made or you have urgently implemented remedies to each of the problems identified.
  5. Put a plan of action in place to resolve all of the problems identified by UKVI in a timely manner – i.e. resolve any reporting, record-keeping, or sponsor licence process issues.

Remember, time is of the essence. Therefore it is important to take action as soon as possible after you receive a notice of intention to revoke or suspend.

At Reiss Edwards, we have assisted many businesses in the UK to successfully overcome sponsor licence suspensions, and revocations. Speak to one of our immigration lawyers in complete confidence on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk.

What can cause a sponsor licence suspension or revocation?

Sponsor licence suspension and revocation typically occur because UKVI believes that your business is not meet its obligations and duties as a sponsor licence holder. Suspension and revocation can occur if you do not:

  • check and keep evidence that overseas workers you wish to hire have the necessary skills, qualifications or professional accreditations to perform their roles
  • only assign certificates of sponsorship to workers for suitable jobs
  • report to UKVI if sponsored workers fail to comply with the conditions of their visa
  • monitor employees’ immigration status
  • keep copies of important documents for each sponsored employee (e.g. passport and right to work information)
  • keep records of employees’ attendance
  • keep up-to-date records of employees’ contact information
  • report changes or problems to UKVI within the required timescale, e.g. if an employee does not start work or stops coming to work, change to the business (such as changes to the type of business, insolvency, location etc.)
  • keep your key user details up to date

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