Quick Guide – Tier 2 Sponsor Licence Compliance Requirements

When a business secures a Tier 2 sponsor’s licence they need to ensure that they have systems in place to retain it. This quick guide will seek to highlight some of the main duties and responsibilities for Tier 2 sponsors.


The main aim of the duties and responsibilities of licence holders are to:

  • Prevent abuse of the immigration system
  • Capture early any patterns of migrant behaviour that may be of cause for concern
  • Address possible weaknesses in processes
  • Monitor compliance with the Immigration Rules

The licence holder is responsible for complying with immigration law and must co-operate with the UK Visas and Immigration section of the Home Office. There are strict record keeping and reporting duties which must be maintained. If they fail to do so, their licence may be at risk.



  1. Record Keeping Duties

As a licence holder, the business must keep certain records and/or documents for each migrant sponsored under the licence and make them available to the Home Office on request. A hard copy or electronic file containing the following documents must be maintained;

Immigration Status

  • A copy of each sponsored migrant’s current passport pages showing all personal identity details (including biometric details), leave stamps, or immigration status document including their period of leave to remain (permission to stay) in the UK;
  • A copy of the migrant’s Biometric Residence Permit (BRP); and
  • A copy of the migrant’s national insurance number.


Contact Details 

  • A complete history of the migrant’s contact details (UK residential address, telephone number, mobile telephone number). This must be kept up to date.


Job Specific 

  • A copy of the migrant’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check where required for the role undertaken by the sponsored migrant;
  • A copy of the migrant’s qualification certificate(s) where specific qualifications are required for the role undertaken by the sponsored migrant.



  • A record of the migrant’s absences, which may be kept electronically or manually



  • Evidence of the Resident Labour Market Test, unless exempt. This should include screen shots of the advertisements which were used to satisfy the test.


Appropriate salary rate

  • Copies of the migrant’s payslips, clearly showing the name, NI number, tax code, any allowances paid and deductions made;
  • A copy of any contract of/for employment/services between the sponsor and the migrant which clearly shows all the following:
    • the names and signatures of all parties involved - normally, this will only be the business and the migrant;
    • the start and end dates of the contract;
    • details of the job, or piece of work that the migrant has been contracted to do;
    • an indication of how much the migrant will be paid; and
    • the names and signatures of all parties involved - normally, this will only be you and the migrant



  1. Reporting Duties

Certain events and information must be reported to the Home Office. Many of these have time limits attached to them.


The following must be reported within 10 working days:

  • Where the sponsored migrant is absent from work for more than 10 consecutive working days without permissions, this must be reported within 10 working days of the 10th day of absence
  • Where a sponsored migrant does not turn up for their first day of work
  • Where a sponsored migrant’s employment or services contract is terminated earlier than shown on their certificate of sponsorship (CoS)
  • Where you stop sponsoring a migrant for any other reason
  • Where there are any significant changes in the sponsored migrant’s circumstances, for example,
    • a promotion or change in job title, or core duties, other than those which need a change of employment application
    • a change of salary from the level stated on the CoS, other than changes due to annual increments or bonuses
    • a change of salary from that stated on the CoS due to maternity, paternity shared parental or adoption leave, or a period of long term sick leave lasting one month or longer
    • the location they are employed at changes
  • Where a sponsored migrant’s employment is affected by TUPE or similar protection
  • Where the size of your business changes from small to large or vice versa


The following must be reported within 20 working days

  • If there are any significant changes in the organisations circumstances, for example, if all or part of the business is sold, stops trading, goes into administration, substantially change the nature of its business or is involved in a merger or take-over.



  1. Compliance with immigration law

This includes compliance with right to work checks for all employees, not just those who are sponsored migrant employees, in order to prevent illegal working.


Other laws, which need to be complied with include:

  • Compliance with UK employment law, e.g. national minimum wage and paid holiday entitlement
  • If the business is a food business for example, the business must be registered with or approved by the relevant food authority
  • Only employing migrant’s who hold a current Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, where this is a requirement for the role



  1. Co-operation

Part of the duties of a sponsor licence holder include ensuring co-operation with the Home Office and allowing their staff full access to the premises/site under the organisations or businesses control, on demand. Home Office visits may be prearranged or alternatively, unannounced. The Home Office may also undertake audits, which are likely to be unannounced, to ensure compliance with the duties and responsibilities attached to the sponsor licence.


Failure to comply

Failure to comply with the Sponsor’s duties and responsibilities can be serious and many of the consequences will have much wider implications. Failure to comply can result in the licence being suspended, downgraded or revoked. This will of course impact on the sponsored employees as when a licence is suspended or revoked, their leave will be curtailed by the Home Office. Home Office audits are occurring more and more frequently and as a result, we are seeing an increase in the number of licence downgrades, suspensions and revocation. The best way to avoid any difficulties on audit is to have robust systems in place as soon as the licence is granted.


The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.