Auditing & Compliance
Mock and file auditing services
The UKVI have recently announced that they are ramping up visits to UK Sponsors employing migrant workers where you can expect the UKVI compliance officer to ask a number of compliance questions and ask for evidence to be provided. In most cases, they will ask to see at least 10% of your sponsored migrant files/records to ensure that the details held are complete and up to date and that your workers have the right to work in the UK. They will also cross reference the information you have on record to ensure it is correct by speaking to the sponsored worker.
It is important to bear in mind that compliance visits may be carried out at any time and are often unannounced. Visits are more likely to be unannounced if concerns have been flagged by or to UKVI regarding your compliance.
UKVI compliance officers are looking to see that Sponsors are fully on top of their sponsor licence obligations. If they have any doubts that your processes are not working, your records are out of date, you are not reporting changes, or you are not monitoring sponsored workers correctly, there is a chance that they will find you non-compliant. This may result in your licence being downgraded, suspended, or your sponsorship licence is revoked.
This has increased a demand for our HR file auditing services for those who need assurance that their HR systems in place and meet the UKVI requirements for monitoring, reporting, and record-keeping. With careful preparation and guidance, we can ensure that you will pass a compliance visit at any time.
We will ask you to send us the HR folders of each of your migrant workers to enable us to carry out a review to ensure that all each file is compliant with UKVI requirements, and suggesting necessary changes and documents that should be kept on file which are essential to maintaining your A rated licence. This will also highlight any reporting duties that need to be made via the SMS on changes that we have not been made aware of.
Our HR file review service includes the following;
- Thorough review of your HR files
- Ensuring that right to work checks have been carried out
- Advising of any essential documents that need to be stored to meet with compliance requirements
- Ensuring that the information on the migrant worker’s CoS is in line with the documents stored
- Identify any changes that need to be made on the SMS
- Suggesting changes to your contract of employment in relation to your sponsorship duties
Here is what you can expect during a UKVI Compliance Visit;
During a UKVI compliance visit, a UKVI compliance officer will carry out a number of checks to ensure that the business is meeting its obligations and duties. During a pre-licence compliance visit, the UKVI will normally question and check that:
- the potential sponsor can provide genuine employment that meets the skill and pay requirements (for an employment sponsor licence)
- the potential sponsor has a human resource (HR) system in place for the monitoring, reporting, and record-keeping of sponsored workers
- the potential sponsor is able to carry out their sponsor duties
- the number of overseas nationals that the potential sponsor plans to employ is appropriate to the size and type of business
- the potential sponsor does not represent a threat to the UK’s immigration system
- any other matters that may have raised concerns are checked, and
- any original documents not provided in the sponsor licence application are checked
During a post-licence compliance visit, the UKVI will normally check that:
- sponsored workers are being recruited to fill genuine vacancies that meet the skill and salary requirements
- the existing sponsor licence holder does not pose a threat to UK immigration
- the number of CoSor CAS initially requested is still justified
- sponsored individuals who are working or studying are meeting the conditions of their leave to stay in the UK, and
- the existing sponsor licence holder is still actively trading
It is essential that you:
- are prepared for a UKVI audit at all times
- there is a suitable person who has the time, experience, and knowledge to spend with the compliance officer
- you can provide the information requested in a timely manner, and
- you always cooperate in a professional manner with the compliance officer
How to prepare for Compliance Visits
As a sponsor licence holder, there are many steps you can take to ensure that you are prepared for a compliance visit at all times, whether announced or unannounced, including:
- Regularly review your processes and compliance – we recommend periodically checking that your sponsorship processes are up to date and are being correctly followed by your staff.
- Ensure that you always have a properly trained Authorising Officer, Level 1/2 users and key contact in place – and that their details are correct on the SMS system
- Ensure your records and documents are up to date – including the contact details of your workers, their current immigration status, and their right to work
- Have a checklist for each sponsorship compliance task for each sponsored worker
- Prepare sponsored employee records to make it easy to find immigration information – this will make it easy to find the information when requested by the UKVI compliance officer.
How you do this will depend on whether you use paper-based or electronic systems to keep HR records. If you use a paper-based HR system, you may consider having a dedicated folder for each sponsored employee with a section just for immigration records, including their:
- certificate of sponsorship
- a copy of their passport/BRP/visa
- salary, role and skills
- their contact information and addresses, and
- any changes reported to UKVI
You should ensure that a calendar/reminder system is in place for visa expiry dates and leave of absences. For example, a reminder to speak to workers before their visa is due to expire to discuss their plans and requirement to leave the country or extend their visa.
Ultimately, the UKVI compliance officer is looking to see that you are fully on top of your sponsor licence obligations. If they have any doubts that your process is not working, your records are out of date, you are not reporting changes, or you are not monitoring sponsored workers correctly, there is a chance that they will find you non-compliant. This may result in your licence being downgraded, suspended, or your sponsor licence revoked. With careful preparation, you can ensure that you will pass a compliance visit at any time.
One of the best ways to achieve peace of mind that your business is always compliant is to engage the services of a specialist in immigration law like us, to carry out regular mock audits. Mock audits involve carrying out the same sponsor licence compliance checks as performed by UKVI, but will not result in any negative impact if problems are identified. The person carrying out the mock audit will advise you of any problems and help you to resolve them, ensuring that you are then ready for a real compliance visit.
How can Synergy Immigration Solutions help?
As a specialist in UK business immigration, we work with domestic and international businesses to make the process of bringing overseas workers to the UK, whether on a short, long-term, or permanent basis, as easy as possible. Our immigration advisers can guide you through the UKVI compliance process, necessary to secure your sponsor licence or provide sponsor licence compliance visit support. We will explain the type of questions you can expect to be asked during a UKVI compliance visit and we can help your business to retain its sponsor licence by carrying out periodic mock compliance audits.
For more information, please get in touch and we can arrange a visit to your premises or ours, to give you the assurance you need to maintain you’re A rated licence.