Sponsor License Downgrading
There are various consequences if your sponsor license is downgraded to a B-rating.
Awards and Accreditations
Downgrading to a B-rating is one of the options that might be taken where a Sponsor fails to comply with the duties of their Sponsor License.
The Criteria for Downgrading
The mandatory downgrading criteria are as follows:
- A migrant claiming benefits with the Sponsor’s knowledge, the latter having certified they would not do so
- Using procedures that are not fully compliant with Sponsor duties
- Failing to provide a document or information within the given time limit
Discretionary downgrading criteria are as follows:
- Sponsoring more than 20 migrants in the Tier 2 ICT Graduate Trainee category with start dates in the same financial year
- Failing to provide a document or information listed in Appendix D (ie the record- keeping requirements for sponsored migrants) within the specified time limit
- Failing to comply with Sponsor duties
Key elements of the process include:
- Downgrading may result from various scenarios, including suspicion of having provided false statements or information – the process may involve reference to agencies including a compliance officer, other law enforcement agency, government department, local authority or a foreign government, at least once representations have been received.
20 days’ notice is given when downgrading is being considered for a written response, that period being extendable if a request shows exceptional circumstances; the response may include witness statements and documentary evidence.
The Consequences of Downgrading
There are various consequences following downgrading:
- A downgraded Sponsor loses their ability to participate in the Graduate Entrepreneur scheme – migrants endorsed by them will have their leave curtailed to 60 days
- The customer services benefits package for Premium and SME+ “A-rated” sponsors is lost
- An action plan will be provided, for which there is a fee – typical requirements are improvements to recordkeeping, improving control over staff assigning CoSs, or improving communication between different branches
- No further CoSs may be assigned during B-rating status until the action plan fee is paid and the Home Office accept that commitment to improvements is shown by signing up to the measures therein
- The steps in the action plan accompanying downgrading must be successfully implemented within a time limit of 3 months
- A Sponsor confronted with an action plan must make payment within 10 working days using the SMS in which case licensed sponsor status continues
If the Sponsor declines to pay the fee by reporting this decision on the SMS, they may surrender their licence, and will be treated as doing so if they fail to make payment within 10 working days – if they take no action, the licence will simply be revoked .