In the event that the Home Office considers that you are breaching your sponsorship duties and pose a threat to immigration control, you might be subject to a sponsorship licence suspension pending further investigation. It is important to know what to do in this circumstance, so read on to find out your rights following a suspension or revocation and what the process entails.
Process for suspending your sponsorship licence
Where the Home Office has evidence that warrants your licence being suspended pending enquires, they will write to you providing the reasons for suspension and informing you of a pending investigation. If it is not possible to ascertain how long the investigation will take the Home Office will update you at regular intervals. During this time, you can make written submissions including evidence which will be taken into account during the investigation. Our team of business immigration solicitors can assist with such submissions.
If you receive a notice from the Home Office suspending your sponsorship licence, you will have 20 working days to respond and seek a review of the decision setting out any mitigating circumstances, if relevant. Your response must be made in writing and set out with supporting evidence showing which grounds you believe are incorrect and the reasons regarding the same. The Home Office may extend this time beyond 20 days if they are satisfied that there are extenuating circumstances.
If the Home office identify additional reasons for the suspension of your licence during the above mentioned 20 day period , they will write to you again, giving you an additional 20 working days to respond in writing to the additional reasons. Please note that the Home Office may obtain additional reasons / information as a result of discussions or interviews with migrants and other staff members or from findings following a visit / investigation.
The Home Office will make a decision and take the appropriate action based on the facts and ultimately on your written response. They will inform you of a decision within 20 working days of receiving your response, unless it is a complex case where they are waiting for information/ evidence from third parties such as HM Revenue and Customs. If it is a complex case you will be informed of any delays.
It is of paramount importance that your written response is strong and addresses all the relevant points backed by evidence and mitigating circumstances if relevant. Our team of business immigration solicitors are experienced in acting for clients who have had their sponsorship licence suspended pending a Home Office investigation. They will be able to assist you in drafting written submissions in response to the notice of suspension / investigation. It is important to instruct us at the earliest opportunity considering the limited 20 working days’ time period within which you must submit your response.
What happens if the Home Office suspends your sponsorship licence?
If the Home Office suspends your licence pending an investigation, you will be unable to sponsor new worker migrants, assign a Certificate of Sponsorship and your business/organisation will be removed from the register of sponsors for the duration of the suspension period. Your current sponsored worker migrants will not be affected, unless your licence is revoked.
During this period of suspension you are required to continue complying with your sponsor duties and requirements and, if your licence is due to expire, you will still be required to renew it, if you wish to keep the sponsorship licence (for details on sponsorship licence renewals, please see Immigration Director Ayan Yalchin’s article ‘Have you renewed your sponsorship licence?’).
When the Home Office has completed its investigation, depending on their conclusions, they may reinstate, downgrade or revoke your sponsorship licence. If the Home Office decide not to revoke your licence, they will lift the suspension and reinstate your entry on the register of sponsors.
Possible reasons for suspending your sponsorship licence to watch out for: