How Do You Prepare for a UKVI Visit
How Do You Prepare for a UKVI Visit
Holding a Tier 2 sponsor license means staying on top of your record management during those Home Office audits. UKVI officials can visit your premises, either announced or unannounced, to conduct checks on your compliance. Your organisation needs to be prepared with all necessary information and documentation, as well as make sure all processes are transparent, and auditable.
What the UKVI will assess
UKVI visits occur in two distinct scenarios: a pre and a post visit. So let’s take a look at what exactly the UKVI is assessing in each of these scenarios:
Once you have applied for a sponsorship licence, the UKVI visit is aimed at assessing if your organisation fulfilling the expected sponsor duties. Here are a few things they may be looking for:
- Do you have HR processes in place that are capable of carrying out sponsorship duties?
- Are you offering employment opportunities where the job description is in-line with those covered by the Tier 2 licence?
- Is the number of Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) that you have applied for, actually in tune with the requirements of your organisation?
Once you have received your sponsorship licence, UKVI visits occur to assess if you are complying with your sponsorship duties, or in cases where you have applied to renew your licence. Here’s what these types of visits assess:
- Is the HR team and the appointed sponsorship personnel, compliant with all record-keeping and reporting duties?
- Whether your requested number of CoS are still valid, as per you organisation’s current requirements
- Whether your migrant employees are complying with the conditions laid out for their leave of stay in the UK
- Whether migrant employees have been hired to fulfill genuine Tier 2 vacancies
How to ensure you are ready for the audit
Now that we have a fair idea of what the UKVI is looking for, let’s take a look at how your organisation can prepare to meet these expectations:
Have all your information and documentation of sponsored migrants in place
The UKVI demands you stay compliant with your record-keeping duties, for all your migrant employees. This means they need clear visibility of who your migrant employees are, their requisite information, and all the necessary documents are on file, and easily accessible.
Most organisations have a distinct colour code for personnel files of migrant employees, and ensure that all necessary documents, as demanded by the UKVI, are present. Other important information like job descriptions, rate of pay, locations of work of the employee, sponsorship and visa expiry dates, should all be well documented. You should also be able to produce these when requested for.
A sub-folder to contain certain key immigration documents is an easy way to keep the following documents accessible:
- Certificate of Sponsorship
- Copy of passport and visa or the bio-metric residence permit
- Copy of all updates reported to the UKVI via the Sponsorship Management System
- Details of the ads run for your resident labour market tests
A lot of organisations have this information documented in files and excel sheets. But as you scale up, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep track of all that information in a cohesive manner. A compliance management solution like Complygate can assist you in staying on top of your sponsorship duties.
Keep all documents up-to-date
All documents, passports, visa, CoS, salary statements etc. included in your personnel files should be up-to-date, with proper stamps and signatures. You do not want to hand out a document requested by the UKVI officials only for them to discover that it’s outdated or expired. At the very least it would portray your team as non-compliance and in worst case, it could result in you being classified as non-compliant.
So it’s best to do a monthly check on all migrant personnel files, to ensure all documents are updated.
Tracking attendance and leave
Make sure you have a formal system in place to mark employee attendance, and a way to quickly pull up attendance records for migrant employees. Similarly, have a process to track employee leave and within that, identify leave taken by migrant employees. The ability to quickly extract and show this information pertaining to overseas hires is a good way to showcase that you are fully abreast of their movement, and can suitably notify the UKVI in case of any unexplained absences.
Conduct periodic internal mock audits
Internal audits, by people not involved in the day-to-day sponsorship activities, could be extremely helpful in flagging up any discrepancies in your processes.
If this internal team considering is lay to your existing compliance procedures, find it difficult to locate the necessary documents, then there is a problem. Similarly, if your compliance team is unable to answer questions asked or furnish information requested, you might want to fix the issues straightaway. That will increase your readiness for an actual UKVI audit.
Clearing a UKVI audit determines your approval for a new sponsor licence or continuing to hold an existing one. Any lapses in preparedness or compliance can jeopardise your ability to issue CoS and hire migrant talent. Therefore it is crucial to have formal processes and that your HR teams are always prepared for a UKVI visit.
ComplyGate can be of great help in your compliance audit preparation, especially in terms of documentation and tracking employee attendance. ComplyGate does more than just help you maintain compliance; it assist in smooth running of processes and in the most efficient way possible.
To get complete control over your sponsor duties and be prepared for UKVI visits, contact us for a demo of ComplyGate.
link to blog 1: 4 Ways ComplyGate can help organizations remain compliant