Home Office audit (visit)
Prior to making decision on sponsor licence application or at any time during the period of the sponsor licence validity, the Home Office officers may come to visit the sponsor’s business premises to conduct an audit. The purpose of their visit is to assess if an organisation is able to comply with the sponsorship duties (pre-licence audit) or whether an organisation already holding a licence has complied with the duties (post-licence audit).
Prepare for the Home Office audit
During their visit the Home Office will speak to the Authorising Officer (i.e. person from a sponsor’s organisation with an overall responsibility for immigration compliance) and review the sponsor’s HR procedures and records. They may also speak to the Skilled Worker migrants to establish if their job duties are in fact in line with the information recorded on their work permits. We have prepared a summary of the Home Office guidance on our page here, which you can read to get a more thorough understanding of what happens during the Home Office audit.
Larger organization’s usually have in place HR procedures required by Home Office. Smaller companies often struggle with implementing those procedures. Thus, they face more difficulties during the audit. They may need help with the preparation for the audit. However, even larger organizations should not be complacent. The visiting officer is usually experienced and the audits are very detailed. Anyone can fail Home Office audit and the consequences can be serious for both the organization and visa holders. More in depth information about Home Office compliance audit can be found in the guidance notes issued by the Home Office. You can also read our comprehensive summary of the Home Office guidance on this page on our website.
Consequences of an failed Home Office visit
Depending on the result of the visit, the Home Office may grant or refuse a sponsor licence application or suspend or revoke an already existing licence. It is crucial to be prepared for an audit as poor result of an audit may not only cause refusal of the licence application but also may mean that a further sponsor licence application cannot be submitted for 6-12 months depending on the reasons for the licence refusal. The workers’ visa will be revoked in case of employers losing their sponsor licence.