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Responsibilities of Visa Sponsoring Companies UK

The South African visa sponsoring companies in the UK have several roles to play in bringing foreign workers into the UK. These sponsoring companies must abide by certain rules and be committed to ensure that they discharge their duties effectively.

If you need more clarifications about sponsor licences, bringing workers to the UK or other services we offer, do not hesitate to reach out to us at IAS. Call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online.

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    Introduction to UK Visa Sponsorship for Employers

    South African visa sponsoring companies in the UK wishing to hire talented workers from abroad, need to know everything about visa sponsorship. A company must have a current sponsorship permit in order to employ a skilled worker, and both the position and the applicant must be eligible.

    The authorisation given to a South African company to sponsor skilled foreign workers seeking to work in the UK via the Skilled Worker visa route is known as a sponsorship licence. To satisfy the requisite evidentiary standards, businesses have to finish an online application and submit documents to support it.

    Within 5 days of the first application submission, these documents must be provided. An application may be rejected or delayed and additional fees may be charged if all essential documents are not submitted.

    Following the submission of these documents, the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) may visit the business to inspect compliance before deciding whether or not to issue the licence.

    These South African companies must also abide by the laws against unlawful working. These laws mandate that all applicants for employment with the company must present proof of their permission to work, and that employers must keep copies of these documents.

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    Employer Responsibilities for UK Visa Sponsorship

    The South African companies have some responsibilities to carry out in sponsoring skilled workers. Employers must comply with the following requirements to access global talent and benefit from employment sponsorship:

    • To ensure that the foreign workers the employer wishes to sponsor possess the necessary abilities, practical experience, or educational background to perform the position being recruited for and that the employer has records and copies of the documents attesting to this.
    • To issue Certificates of Sponsorship to the foreign workers for jobs that are eligible for sponsorship.
    • To inspect sponsored employees and alert the Home Office if they violate any of the terms of their sponsorship or visa.

    Suitability Checks

    The South African companies and their employees are checked to ensure they are suitable for their roles. Employers are typically denied sponsorship licences if the following applies to anyone partaking in the sponsorship:

    • Was reported to the UKVI.
    • Has been fined by the UKVI in the last 1 year.
    • Has broken the law.
    • Failed to pay other excise duty or VAT.
    • Has an unfinished criminal conviction for one of the offences mentioned in the sponsors’ guidance.
    • Has been a key person at a sponsor whose licence was revoked in the previous 12 months.

    It is required that the employer and their allocated staff must not:

    • Be a consultant or contractor hired for a particular project.
    • Reside outside of the UK most of the time.
    • Have a record of violating sponsor requirements.
    • Be subject to any undertaking, bankruptcy restriction order, or debt relief restriction.

    Note that the staff allocated to the employer must typically be the paid office holders or staff members of the company.

    The South African companies in the UK may assign any of their company roles to UK-based legal representatives except for the role of authorising officer. The legal representatives must be licensed for immigration advice or services.

    Our UK-based legal representatives at IAS have received specialised training in the field of immigration law, and it is their responsibility to help clients navigate the immigration process. Because of the complexity of the UK immigration system, there are many problems that our immigration lawyers can help with.

    In addition to more complex concerns including complications in immigration detention and deportation, and human rights claims, they can also assist with visa applications, citizenship applications, etc. Our UK-based legal representatives can help businesses with their immigration needs and also help individuals who wish to enter the UK and work for their UK employers.

    This includes assistance with sponsor licence applications so that South African companies in the UK can hire foreign workers. They can also assist with a variety of business visa applications.

    Record-Keeping

    The South African sponsoring companies based in the UK must ensure they run effective HR processes and maintain accurate personnel records. All pertinent documentation pertaining to sponsored immigrants may be requested by UKVI during a compliance visit, and they could anticipate these documents to be provided right away.

    Licensed employers are required to keep an electronic copy or photocopy of the following for all visa types:

    • Important pages of their sponsored workers’ passport, leave stamps, period of leave to remain, personal identity details, and immigration status.
    • National Insurance number of workers.
    • Biometric residence permit of workers.
    • Workers’ disclosure that bars service check, if applicable.
    • Workers’ absences record.
    • Employment contract of workers.
    • The current and historic contact details of workers.
    • Other required documents for the workers’ visa type.

    Our immigration experts can help you obtain a visa sponsoring companies UK. Get in touch with us today! Contact Us

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      Besides record keeping, employers who hold a sponsorship licence must report to the Home Office via the SMS portal. This report must be done within 10 working days if sponsored employees:

      • Are absent from work on the first day.
      • Are absent from work for about 10 or more days, without permission.
      • Have their contracts terminated early.
      • Have significant changes in their employment contract.

      The South African sponsoring companies in the UK are also required to keep track of the immigration status of their staff members, report any changes, and alert the Home Office to any indications that a person may be violating the rules for staying in the UK.

      Complying With Immigration Rules & UK Law

      It is crucial to keep in mind that one of your duties as a sponsor will be to avoid actions that are unfavourable to the public interest. Sponsors should only hire individuals who meet the required qualifications, or have the requisite experience. Employers cannot sponsor a worker or award a Certificate of Sponsorship if the position is not legitimate.

      Employers should preserve records showing that employees are qualified for the role and monitor each employee’s immigration status in order to prevent unlawful working. As an employer, you must remember to abide by UK employment law and ensure you pay the national minimum wage.

      CoS Applications & Renewals of Certificates

      An organisation has three months to give the worker their certificate of sponsorship after it has been assigned to them. Unconstrained certificates of sponsorship that are given annually expire at the end of each fiscal year.

      Every year, organisations are required to request a new certificate, which they can do starting on January 5. Organisations must ensure that their personnel have the relevant credentials and must only award certificates for positions that are eligible for sponsorship.

      Always Be Prepared for Compliance Visits

      Before making a decision on a licence application or while the licence is in effect, the Home Office has the authority to perform both unannounced and announced inspections on the site of sponsor licence holders, either randomly or in the event of a legitimate suspicion. This is why compliance is a persistent issue, and all employers must always be alert.

      Sponsoring companies must cooperate with the officers and allow any of their representatives access to any sites under your control if the Home Office is inspecting your property. Access to HR records and personnel files must also be made available.

      The Home Office may review the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the data you provide on your sponsor licence application. The sponsor advice Appendix D lists the documentation and files that must be made accessible to the Home office.

      Additionally, the Home Office may check with HMRC to ensure employers are paying their staff fairly. The Home Office might also examine the status of foreign workers to ensure that employers are abiding their obligation to halt illegal working.

      Speak to our legal team today. They can help with any matter. Contact us

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        Breaching Sponsor Duties: Home Office Enforcement

        Before issuing a sponsorship licence, the Home Office may conduct checks to ensure that an organisation has adequate HR processes in place to guarantee compliance. All holders of sponsor licences are required to always be in compliance with their obligations, and site inspections may be conducted with little notice.

        If the Home Office finds that an organisation has violated sponsor licence obligations, the licence may be downgraded, suspended, or revoked, endangering the employment and immigration status of current foreign workers.

        Licence Downgraded

        The Home Office may opt to lower the licence’s rating from A to B in the event of minor violations. You cannot assign any CoS to fresh sponsored employees while your licence is downgraded. You will also need to pay for and adhere to an action plan in order to fix the breach and get your A rating back.

        Licence Suspended

        The Home Office has the authority to suspend your licence while more inquiries are being made if more serious alleged violations are involved. After being informed of the suspension in writing, you will have the option of accepting the accusations or contesting the justifications for the suspension. The Home Office will then decide whether to remove the suspension if they are certain that the violations have been fixed or to increase the punishment to a revocation if the problems persist.

        Licence Revocation

        This is the worst punishment for sponsor licence holders as they can no longer sponsor migrant workers if their sponsor licence is withdrawn. You might also face a 6-month “cooling off period” where you are not allowed to reapply for a licence.

        You will no longer be able to sponsor migrant workers if your licence is suspended or revoked. Any employees you sponsor in the UK will have their visas restricted to a maximum of 60 days, or the remaining time of their visa, if it is less than 60 days. Within this window, they must either obtain authorisation to stay in the UK via a different way which could be by locating a new position with a new sponsor or depart the country.

        If you have any questions about visa sponsoring companies UK, our team is happy to assist. Contact us

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          How Can IAS Lawyers Help

          Failure to comply with the sponsorship licence duties reserved for UK employers can result in serious consequences for their businesses. Some of these consequences could be the suspension, downgrading, or even revocation of the sponsorship licence.

          The immigration rules are bound to change frequently coupled with the fact that they are rigorous. Our immigration lawyers at IAS are experienced professionals in UK business immigration laws and how to help you carry out your employment sponsorship.

          We work with businesses planning to establish operations in the UK to assist in recruiting and integrating people via the path for Skilled Worker visas and sponsorship application process. We can assist businesses to apply for sponsor licence and dealing with the Home Office.

          For guidance in hiring and obtaining a UK work permit, or sponsoring immigrant workers for your South African company based in the UK, do not hesitate to speak with one of our immigration lawyers at IAS. Call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online.

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    To be a sponsor in the UK requires you to have a sponsorship licence. This licence will grant you the authority to support your foreign workers to enter the UK and work for your company.

                    Some of the benefits of sponsorship in the UK is that it offers the foreign worker the opportunity to obtain a UK visa. Besides that, it also grants them the right to enter the UK and stay employed in the role they are employed in the UK.

                    Visa sponsor pays all of the costs for those who are travelling abroad but do not have an income certificate.

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