Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Immigration Corner | Questions on sponsorship

Published:Tuesday | October 11, 2016 | 10:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I have recently been successfully sponsored by an employer in the United Kingdom. I would like to know what would happen to me if my sponsor loses their licence.

- K.S.

Dear K.S.,

Persons will have to leave their job and leave the United Kingdom if the employer loses their sponsor licence, unless persons make a new visa application to stay in the United Kingdom.

Employees could also be affected if the sponsor's licence is suspended; if they are taken over; or if they do not renew their licence.

What happens to the employee will depend on whether they are already in the United Kingdom when the employer's sponsor licence changes.

If a person was already in the United Kingdom when his/her sponsor loses their licence, the employee certificate of sponsorship would be cancelled. In addition, that employee visa is limited to 60 days, or however long the employee has left on the visa if it is less than 60 days.

Also, persons will have to leave their job and leave the United Kingdom, unless they make a new visa application within that time. Those persons will need to check their eligibility for visas.

If persons are involved in the reasons sponsors lost their licence, then their visas will be withdrawn and they will have to leave the United Kingdom immediately.

There are a number of scenarios that may be played out if the sponsor's licence is suspended. If persons have travelled to the United Kingdom to work, they will be allowed to start working; if persons are already working, they will be allowed to continue to work; or if persons apply to have their visas extended, their application will not be processed until the suspension ends.

If persons are outside of the United Kingdom, it is advisable that the status of their sponsor's licence on the register of sponsors is checked before travelling. It should be noted that sponsors would not be listed if they have lost their licence or if the licence is suspended.

There are also different scenarios that may be played out if sponsors lose their licence. For instance, if a visa application is made it will be refused; if persons have visas but have not travelled to the United Kingdom, those visas will be cancelled and those persons will not be allowed to enter if they travel to the United Kingdom.

If persons are outside of the United Kingdom and the sponsor's licence is suspended and if those persons have applied for a visa, their applications will be put on hold until the end of the suspension; or if persons have a visa but have not travelled to the United Kingdom, those persons will be contacted by United Kingdom Visas and Immigration.

If the sponsor's businesses are taken over or they do not renew their licences, the applicant's visas will be limited to 60 days, or however long they have left on the visa if it is less than 60 days. This is also the case if the employers do not renew their sponsor licences; following a takeover of a person's old employer's business, if that person's new employer does not apply for a sponsor licence within 28 days. Also, persons will have to leave their job and leave the United Kingdom unless they make a new visa application within that time.

It is advisable that such persons check their eligibility visas. In addition, persons' visas will be cancelled if they have permission to go to the United Kingdom but have not travelled yet, and persons will not be allowed to enter if they travel to the United Kingdom.

It is worth mentioning students' situation if their education providers lose their sponsor licences. Persons will need to find a new course with a different education provider if their sponsors lose their licences. The new education providers will need to sponsor those persons.

With respect to how long persons can stay, it should be noted that a current visa will be limited to 60 days, or however long they have left on the visa if it is less than 60 days; persons will have to leave the United Kingdom if they do not find a new sponsor in that time. Also, visas will be withdrawn immediately if they are involved in the reasons for the withdrawal and persons will have to leave the United Kingdom if they have not found a new sponsor by the end of that time.

If the sponsor is taken over by another organisation, it should be noted that a person's visa will not be affected if the new organisation: already has a sponsor license; or applies for a sponsor licence within 28 days. If not, a person's visa will be limited to 60 days, or however long you have left on the visa if it is less than 60 days.

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: lawbassie@yahoo.com