This article covers the following-


When you apply for a sponsor licence, you have to prove that you can meet the responsibilities that come with it. Once you get the licence, you must continue to follow these duties. The Home Office might check on you before approving the licence, after granting it, or before it expires. This check can happen with or without warning. To be ready for this, it’s helpful to conduct an immigration audit for your business. This post explains what an immigration audit is, how our immigration lawyers can help with it and talks about the Home Office inspection and what happens if you fail it.

What Is an Immigration Audit?

An immigration audit is like a practice check for your human resource system, policies, and documents. It helps ensure that you’re prepared for a visit from the Home Office to make sure you’re following the rules. The Home Office describes a compliance visit as a check where they come to see if you’re following the rules. This visit may include checking any of your branches, sites, or places where your sponsored workers are employed.

What triggers a Home Office inspection?

A Home Office inspection can be triggered by different events:

1. Pre-licence visit

Before deciding on your sponsor licence application, the Home Office might perform an inspection. This is done to verify if your HR system is strong enough to fulfill your sponsor duties and if the information provided in your licence application is accurate.

2. Post-licence visit

After you’ve been granted a sponsor licence, the Home Office may conduct inspections during its validity period. These checks ensure that you’re still following your sponsor duties and that your company is a legitimate and law-abiding entity in the UK.

Home Office’s compliance visit

During a compliance visit, the Home Office may examine various aspects, including:

Reporting duties

They may check if you have submitted accurate reports within the specified timeframes following any changes in the sponsored worker’s circumstances.

Record-keeping duties

The Home Office will ask to see documents related to sponsored workers, ensuring that required records outlined in Appendix D are maintained.

Compliance with immigration laws

Documentation such as application forms and job descriptions may be reviewed to confirm that sponsored workers are qualified or experienced for their roles.

Compliance with wider UK law

They will verify if any workers are employed illegally, which involves assessing an employer’s duty to conduct right-to-work checks.


The Home Office may conduct interviews with sponsored workers and individuals involved in the recruitment process.

As part of the inspection, the Home Office might also collaborate with other government departments to ensure comprehensive compliance checks.

What are the consequences of failing a Home Office inspection?

Failure to comply with sponsorship duties after obtaining a sponsor licence may lead to various consequences from the Home Office:

1. Downgrading to B-rating

  • Meaning: An action plan is introduced for compliance within a specified period. A fee is incurred, and no new workers can be sponsored until an A-rating is regained.
  • Action: Adhere to the action plan and enhance performance within a specified time limit, not exceeding 3 months.
  • Next Steps: A further compliance check is conducted at the end of the period. The maximum duration for a B-rating with an action plan is 3 months at a time or twice during the licence validity period.

2. Suspension of licence

  • Meaning: No new Certificates of Sponsorship can be assigned during the suspension. Current sponsored workers are not affected unless the Home Office decides to revoke the licence.
  • Action: Respond within 20 working days from the Home Office suspension letter.
  • Next Steps: The licence may be reinstated as an A-rating or B-rating with an associated action plan.
Find out what to do NEXT after UK Sponsor Licence Suspension

3. Revocation of licence

  • Meaning: In case of revocation, no further worker sponsorships are allowed. Current sponsored workers’ permissions may be cancelled.
  • Action: You are typically not allowed to reapply for a sponsor licence until at least 12 months (or longer in some cases) after revocation.
  • Next Steps: If the licence is revoked, all sponsored workers are notified, and their remaining permission may be cancelled or shortened to 60 calendar days.
Know EVERYTHING about how UK-based companies can acquire a Sponsor Licence

When to request an immigration audit?

You should think about getting an immigration audit in these situations:

  • If your organization has never been checked by the Home Office.
  • When getting ready to renew your sponsor licence and the Home Office hasn’t checked you before.
  • If your licence has been downgraded.
  • After big changes in your organization, like being taken over or merging with another one.
  • When you get a notice about an upcoming Home Office inspection.

Watch our vide on: UK Sponsorship Licence Application Process

How Conroy Baker Ltd can help?

To get professional guidance and support for Sponsor Licence applications and Immigration Audits, reach out to our immigration barristers on +44 203 773 2948 or [email protected]