5 silly things in which your licence can be revoked


06 February 2020 | Ian Refugio | 5 min read

The grant of your sponsor licence is a privilege and it comes with duties and responsibilities.  The Home Office takes your compliance seriously and the Sponsor Guidance has now evolved to be a longer document but more comprehensive since its inception, to support you in understanding what is expected of you during the life of your sponsor licence. It's sometimes tempting to think that some of the rules do not make much sense and appears silly but they have been developed due to the abuse in the Points Based System (PBS) by many providers in the past. We have sat in hundreds of compliance visits to support our clients in demonstrating they are complying with their sponsor duties and found amongst other things, 5 silly things in which sponsor licence holders are failing to do for different reasons.

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1. You forgot to report via SMS within 10 days that your sponsored international nurse has obtained full NMC registration.

You have a duty to report to the Home Office certain information or events occurring in the employment of your sponsored nurses. This must be done within 10 working days through the Sponsorship Management System. One of them if you are a care provider and recruited an overseas nurse, is to report the moment your nurse has achieved NMC pin, after passing the Objective Structured Clinical Examination. This is considered a significant change in your migrant's circumstances for one of its effects is that the migrant must be paid the registered nurse salary rate, and therefore must be reported within the 10-day limit.

If you're not sure you've done this reporting within the time frame given, you must do it now and provide an explanation on file. Don't wait for an unannounced visit for this to be discovered. 

But note that there are other circumstances you must report and do not hesitate to contact us to undertake a full assessment of your compliance and provide you the help and support you need to keep your licence and your sponsored nurses.

2. You keep on file a copy of your migrant's passport that has already expired.

You must keep records of information or documents relevant to your sponsored migrant or to the running of your organisation. Having an expired or expiring copy of any relevant document on file is viewed by the Home Office as non-compliance for not having a robust system in place to ensure that the identity or right to work documents of your workers are monitored and tracked accordingly to prevent illegal working. This issue always comes up when your staff files are being audited at visits. More often than not, the compliance officers find other important documents missing simply because you were not aware you should keep them. The Sponsor Guidance Appendix D: Keeping Records for Sponsorship lists all the documents you must keep to fulfil your sponsor duties and will be helpful in reviewing your compliance.

But note that there are other documents that are not specified in the Appendix because they are specific to the circumstances of your sponsored migrants. An example would be keeping a copy of NMC pin number on file for your international nurses. Do not hesitate to contact us to undertake a full assessment of your compliance and provide you the help and support you need to keep your licence and your sponsored nurses.

3. You have not paid your sponsored migrant the registered nurse rate as stated on the Certificate of Sponsorship on achieving NMC registration.

Your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) must have stated that your international nurse will be paid a pre-registered nurse rate whilst working towards achieving their full NMC registration and that you will pay the registered nurse rate upon obtaining their pin numbers. We have seen sponsors fell foul of this duty because they waited for the next payroll before applying the registered nurse rate to the wages of their migrants rather than paying them immediately on full registration. This is because Annex 5(s) of the Sponsor Guidance considers this a breach where it provides: "You assign a Tier 2 or Tier 5 CoS to a migrant and the salary stated on that CoS is different from the amount paid (including any allowances) to that migrant taking into account the salary stated on any sponsor note you have added to it."

But note that  annex 5(s) has a long list and there are other circumstances that are not in the list that can be construed as breaches of your sponsor duty.  We can show you all them and do not hesitate to contact us to undertake a full assessment of your compliance and provide you the help and support you need to keep your licence and your sponsored nurses.

4. Your international nurses are working as care assistants rather than as Pre-registered nurses whilst working towards obtaining their NMC pins.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) does not permit international nurses providing nursing care as this is a regulated activity. What normally happens during the period of obtaining full registration, migrants are given care assistants duties which can be construed by Compliance Officers as the role undertaken by your migrant does not match the job description in Appendix J to the Immigration Rules containing the SoC code stated in the CoS you assigned for them and the job description you stated in the CoS. It is therefore important to note to develop a clear job description for your pre-registered nurses and not simply give them any duties similar to your care assistants as you will be breaching Annex 5(gg) of the Sponsor Guidance.

Do not hesitate to contact us to undertake a full assessment of your compliance and provide you the help and support you need to keep your licence and your sponsored nurses.

5. You assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship to your international nurse without first advertising your vacancy for 28 days. 

Nursing was added to the shortage occupation list in 2018 and the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an independent, non-statutory, non-time limited, non-departmental public body that advises the government on migration issues, recommended to the government in 2019 to keep nursing on the shortage occupation list. This means paying a lower Tier 2 application fee but it does not exempt you from carrying out a resident labour market test before assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship. This is because paragraph 28.5 of the Sponsor Guidance provides this exception if the job is in the occupation code '2231 Nurses' where you must carry out a resident labour market test.

Do not hesitate to contact us to undertake a full assessment of your compliance and provide you the help and support you need to keep your licence and your sponsored nurses.


..."During the interview with your sponsored migrant, he confirmed that he currently undertakes the role of a care assistant and that he administers drugs to residents unsupervised. It cannot be said that these sponsored workers are indeed undertaking a pre-registered role as part of the programme, and as a result, they no longer meet the requirements of paragraph 245HD(f) of the Immigration Rules and you are in breach of paragraph 15.13 (bullet points one, two and three) of the Tier 2 and 5 Sponsor Guidance"...                               

                                                                             UKVI Sponsor Compliance Officer

We have recruited 25 nurses for the client above and offered them our Sponsor Compliance Service which they refused thinking they are complying with their duties. So the unannounced visit took place and later their sponsor licence was revoked and meant that all their sponsored nurses had to leave employment, causing significant financial losses and disruption to the care they provide. 


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Post Category: solicitors, immigration, osce, training, nurse, tier 4, switching to tier 2

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