10 Things Which Can Help You with Home Office Tier-2 Compliance Inspection

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10 Things Which Can Help You with Home Office Tier-2 Compliance Inspection
11
Jun

10 Things Which Can Help You with Home Office Tier-2 Compliance Inspection

Sponsor Licence holders are aware of the challenges that UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requirements pose for them. They are subject to strenuous monitoring and announced as well as unannounced visitations on their premises by the UKVI officials, which only adds up the pressure to the already seemingly unpleasant situation.
These visitations are generally undertaken as part of the Home Office’s pre-licence checks on an applicant organisation (including addition of a new tier to the licence by the sponsor), following the submission of a licence renewal application or in case of a report / notification provided to the Home Office. The Home Office can also facilitate visits in case of any concerns arising out of intelligence which alleges a sponsor of non-compliance and dereliction of duties and responsibilities on all related issues.
The Modernised Guidance (MG) details the cases during which sponsor licence applicant may have to face visits by immigration officials.

Examples of such cases are as below:

  • A business which does not publicly disclose nature of work, or how immigration risk assessments are made compliant to UKVI rules. This kind of a business or company can be observed to be a risk to immigration control, even though certain industries like hospitality or catering are understood to be of high-risk nature
  • A business which has a particular risk profile and employment checks are required
  • A business which has applied for a new tier or category without having been visited by compliance officers in the previous year
  • A business which has applied to renew its licence but currently is in a category which required a compliance visit
  • A business which has applied for a premium sponsor status but has not received any visitations by compliance officers in the previous three months
  • A business which has never had a Sponsor Licence in the past
  • A business which did not apply to renew a previous licence and that licence expired

It is crucial to ensure that sponsor licence holders are fully prepared for a UKVI compliance visit. It is an essential and an uplifting measure for Sponsor Licence holders to conduct a simulated external audit periodically to ensure their HR systems are in place to deal with Tier 2 compliance. So, if you are lucky enough to receive notice of the UKVI visit, make sure you conduct an internal audit of your HR policies and ensure full compliance. 

Following are ten ways to handle and come out on top during a UKVI compliance visit.

1. Vacancies

One of the major issues that has been of concern lately pertains to that of vacancies.
If a certain number of positions are filled by sponsored workers, then those positions cannot be filled by settled workers. Companies normally go about this by advertising the requirements beforehand and in case the positions remain vacant, only then they’re allowed to bring in sponsored workers. Companies must mandatorily prove that the position was advertised as well as the reasons for the unsuitability of the settled workers for the vacant role. This process, known as Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT), forms an integral part of the Tier 2 Sponsor Licence compliance process. 

2. Maintaining employee records

It is always mandatory for sponsor licence holders  to have updated HR records of their sponsored worker’s contact details. These details must also include attendance records of sponsored workers and attendance report filing system to the UKVI for related concerns.
Additionally, apart from work documents and contact details, employers must keep migrant records for each migrant worker as detailed in Sponsor Guidance, Appendix D. Sponsor Guidance also details and confirms that sponsor licence holders must provide any relevant documents related to sponsored migrants in order to have the UKVI make an assessment of the compliance situation in this regard.

3. Having clear roles

Sponsored workers are frequently interviewed by the UKVI compliance auditors to make sure that the workers have been employed in the role that they were originally hired for. The sponsor licence holder must ensure that the workers are working in properly documented roles and fully well understand their roles.

4. Getting assistance

Sponsor licence holders are strongly advised to have authorised legal experts like immigration lawyers present during the UKVI audit. This shows that sponsor licence holders are serious about maintaining compliance and ensuring that all checks are in place. The immigration lawyer by your side would give you the much needed confidence during the UKVI visit and would also be able to keep a check on the UKVI experts by ensuring that they are acting within the scope of their powers and jurisdiction. Sponsor licence holders are also strongly advised to note and record everything that has transpired during a UKVI visitation. This can be especially helpful if the UKVI points out issues of compliance failures or dereliction of duty, and the sponsor licence holder has a document ready to check and verify whether this is the case or not.

5. Cooperating fully with the UKVI staff

Sponsor licence holders are strongly urged to cooperate willingly and fully with the UKVI staff and assist them wherever they might require any assistance. All company must be present during the UKVI visit and encouraged to provide full assistance so that auditing becomes fast, smooth and transparent. Failing to cooperate with the UKVI compliance officers may result in suspension of the sponsor licence.

6. Sharing responsibility

It is one of the foremost responsibilities of the organization to maintain compliance throughout the organization. As per UKVI guidelines, systems, and support structures instead of individual workers are necessary to ensure standard compliance. Therefore, it is imperative that key company personnel are fully knowledgeable and trained about the significance of their roles and duties. 

7. Checking documentation

Sponsor licence holders must ensure proper record-keeping for smooth and successful audit sessions and maintaining compliances. All records must be up-to-date and easy to access.

8. Training the staff

Over time, it becomes mandatory to train the staff in all the respects of UKVI compliance visits to ensure smooth audits and well-transitioned managerial operations of the company.

9. Safeguarding the interests of children

Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 highlights the need to safeguard children and promoting their welfare during exercising immigration functions. Employers must ensure that suitable arrangements are in place for child workers under 18. These include travel and reception arrangements upon arrival in the UK, all necessary documentation including parental consent to be made ready upon any inspection visit.

10. Simulating audit sessions

Sponsor licence holders are advised to simulate and practice mock audit checks during which they can go through and verify all aspects of their work compliance. This way they can ensure the workers are ready for an actual compliance audit. Mock checks can also further streamline existing compliance frameworks and make the company personnel calm and confident during the actual audit.
Over time, well-organized, streamlined systems are in place which makes compliance management hassle-free, easily achievable and an integral part of company’s operations. 

 

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