A report commissioned by an immigration law firm found that a majority of British companies were not aware of the correct rules for sponsoring overseas workers. Consequently, many businesses could face fines, closure or even prison sentences for directors if they fail to comply with the visa rules.
The report found that two-thirds of the businesses surveyed were unaware what documents they needed to keep on file for sponsored overseas workers, and 95 per cent were not reporting all the required changes in circumstances for sponsored workers.
In addition, the report found just 7 per cent of companies were advertising job vacancies correctly when filling a position with a non-EEA citizen
The findings revealed that businesses are not carrying out sufficient internal compliance audits to ensure internal policies, procedures and guidelines follow the required ‘duties’ of a sponsor to ensure they meet the Home Office’s stringent compliance checks.
As a result, the report warned that up to 95 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses risk having their sponsor licence revoked and many could even face closure under strict new provisions of the Immigration Act 2016. Directors risk heavy fines or even a prison sentence.
Employers wishing to retain both EU and non-EEA workers need to get fully prepared ahead of Brexit. In order to do so, the services of an immigration solicitor advising and assisting for Sponsorship Licence applications but also for the compliance with visa rules are now primordial.
If you wish to apply for a Sponsorship Licence or are already a sponsor and want to make sure that you comply with the complex immigration rules, please do not hesitate to contact our immigration team or our senior solicitor, Pam Barar.
The case Mandalia v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKSC 59 can be pivotal example in regards to whether the Presenting Officer has a duty to apply evidential flexibility or it is just a mere power. In this case, the Court of Appeal said: “power”, however, the Supreme Court said: “a duty”.
From August 2009, evidential flexibility was embraced, which allows applicants to repair the deficit in their evidence or correct minor errors in applications for Tier 1, 2, 4 and 5 main and dependent applicants.
The flexible process instruction falls into 19 steps, four of which relevant to the above mentioned case, which the caseworker has to undertake when there is missing evidence or minor errors in the application:
It was held that the Home Office’s refusal was unlawful as there was not any attempt firstly to invite Mr Mandalia to correct minor error specifically to repair the deficit in his evidence. Therefore, the court should allow this appeal, and annul the refusal of Mr Mandalia’s application.
From this year, entry clearance applicants will be issued a Biometric Residence Permit, which must usually be collected within 10 days of arrival in the United Kingdom.
Individuals applying for Naturalisation as a British Citizen, an EEA Residence Card and EEA Permanent Residence must also now have their biometrics taken. The biometrics will be used to issue a biometric card as a form of UK visa.