If your sponsor licence has been suspended, you need to prepare a suspension response. To do so, take the following steps:
- Request the Home Office for the compliance report and copies of notes from your compliance visit.
- Sit with your lawyer and go through the notes as well as the suspension letter. While reading the suspension letter, pay attention to every detail. Since the suspension letter will have long quotations from the Sponsor Guidance, it appears to be lengthy. Instead of focusing on the quotations, give attention to the issues raised between them.
- Every single issue raised in the letter must be addressed separately in your suspension response. However, you may find that two or more issues have the same underlying cause. If that is the case, they can be addressed together.
- If you are asked to provide certain documents, get them ready and ensure that they are consistent with other material. If they are not, then be prepared to explain the reason.
Note of caution:
With the suspension response, you are trying to get your licence reinstated. The Home Office will do so only if it can trust that your organization will be cooperative and comply with the rules of immigration control. Therefore, make sure your response is professional and courteous. In some instances, the problem worsened when legal representatives of licence holders responded in an aggressive manner.
What if you really have made mistakes and feel that the Home Office was right in suspending your licence?
Even if this is the case, the situation is not hopeless. The Home Office may still consider your response depending on the number of breaches that have occurred and the scale and type of breaches.
In your suspension response, make sure to acknowledge your mistake and give evidence that it will not be repeated. For example, you can show that you are implementing a new policy to prevent the same breach from occurring in the future.
What happens after you have submitted your response?
Depending on the number of issues and how big your organization is, the time it takes for the Home Office to decide varies. Sometimes, it may take a week and sometimes, it can even take months.
The Home Office may suddenly call for another compliance visit before making its decision. Make sure that you are prepared for it.
In the end, your suspension response will get one of the following 3 results:
- Reinstatement of licence
- Licence downgraded to B Rating. If your licence is downgraded, you are still required to follow an action plan for your licence to be reinstated. Failure to do so will lead to revocation of licence
- Revocation of licence. If your licence is revoked, you have only two options left. A) Negotiate with the Home Office (This is possible only in limited circumstances. You also need to prepare for litigation while the negotiation is taking place). B) Judicial Review (Expert advice is highly recommended if you are considering this option. You will be running a risk of having to pay the judicial hearing costs for yourself as well as for the Home Office)
Get in touch with Aristone Solicitors if your licence is revoked. We can help you to get a court order to prevent the Home Office from revoking your licence.
How will sponsored migrants be affected when your licence is suspended?
If the migrants have a visa, they may continue to work or enter the UK to work. However, in case their visa application is pending, they need to wait until the Home Office makes its decision about your sponsor licence.
Why would a sponsor licence be revoked?
It may happen if you did one of the following:
- Gave false information when applying for licence
- Employed a migrant even though he or she did not meet the skill requirement for the job
- Used a Certificate of Sponsorship to fill a job vacancy even though that wasn’t the job specified in the certificate
- Failed to implement the Human Resources Policy
- Failed seriously in fulfilling sponsorship duties
If the Home Office revokes your licence, all sponsored migrants will have their visas curtailed to 60 days. They can extend it only if they find another sponsor within that period. Any pending visa applications of those sponsored by you will generally be refused.
Once your licence is revoked, you cannot appeal the decision. However, after a considerable period, you can apply for sponsor licence again. When you do so, you will be required to address the reasons for which your licence was revoked in the past.
Contact Aristone Solicitors for help in preparing a suspension response or for legal guidance in case your licence is revoked.