SMS Level 1 & 2 User Training

We can help ensure your level 1 and level 2 users use the sponsorship management system correctly, by delivering a high standard of training.

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Sponsor Licence Management System

As a licensed sponsor of foreign workers who you wish to employ in the UK, your organisation will be expected to fulfil certain responsibilities, as set out by the Home Office. If your firm fails to comply with such requirements, you will be at serious risk of the UK Government taking enforcement action against you.

Much of the responsibility for ensuring compliance will fall upon your organisation’s level 1 and level 2 users of the Home Office’s sponsor licence management system (SMS). So, it is crucial to ensure the people you have undertaking these roles know how to discharge their compliance duties.

This is where our SMS level 1 and level 2 user training shows its relevance here at Cranbrook Legal. Our experts in UK immigration law can help ensure you get the best out of the SMS portal, while achieving constant compliance.  

Recent Sponsor Licence Success Stories

What is the sponsor licence management system?

The sponsor licence management system – also sometimes referred to as the sponsor management system, or SMS – is the Home Office’s online tool that sponsors use in order to fulfil their compliance responsibilities, while carrying out their day-to-day management of their sponsor licence.

Even before you became a licensed sponsor, your organisation will have gained some familiarity with the SMS, given that applications for the sponsor licence are also made through this system. However, there is a big difference between submitting an application to become a sponsor in the first place, and making the best use of the complete functionality of the SMS portal.

The Home Office depends on the sponsor licence management system as a source of information showing the extent of your compliance with your duties as a sponsor.

From the point of view of the organisation that actually holds the sponsor licence, however, the sponsor licence management portal can be confusing and difficult to use. While the Home Office provides its own guidance on how to use the SMS portal, sponsors have long complained about its complexity. This is unfortunate, as you will not want such complexity to cause your organisation to ever be in breach of its compliance duties, especially given how stringent the rules are.

Being alert to the risk of compliance penalties arising from any breaches of the requirements could make your organisation’s level 1 and level 2 users very anxious about the possibility of making a mistake.

All this underlines what a good idea it could be to have a reputable UK immigration law firm by your side, staffed with experts who can provide high-quality training in how to use the SMS portal, and who are able to answer your questions. Please call Cranbrook Legal in central London now, on 0208 215 0053, if you are interested in finding out more about our SMS level 1 and 2 user training.

What is the role of an authorising officer and level 1 user?

Even as early as the application stage when your organisation is looking to secure a sponsor licence, you will need to appoint people into certain roles within your business, to help ensure you fulfil your duties correctly.

One of those roles will be the “key contact”, who will constitute your organisation’s main point of contact with UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). However, there are also two more crucial roles that you will be expected to fill:

  • The authorising officer, who is a senior and competent person responsible for the actions of staff and representatives who use the SMS portal
  • The level 1 user, who will be responsible for all day-to-day management of your organisation’s sponsor licence, via the sponsor licence management system.

Level 2 users, meanwhile, are optional, but you might nonetheless choose to appoint someone into this role once the Home Office has granted your organisation a sponsor licence.

A level 2 user is an SMS user whose access to the sponsor licence management portal is more restricted than that of a level 1 user; they do not, for instance, have the power to withdraw a certificate of sponsorship (CoS). A level 2 user is, however, able to assign certificates of sponsorship, and can also report worker activity.

Looking at the respective roles of authorising officer and level 1 user in greater detail:

  • An authorising officer will need to be appointed when the given organisation first applies for a sponsor licence, and they must remain in place for as long as the organisation is a licensed sponsor. Whoever you appoint to this position, they should be responsible for the recruitment of all your organisation’s migrant workers, as well as ensuring that your organisation fulfils all its sponsor duties. The authorising officer will not, in themselves, have automatic access to the SMS, unless they are also appointed as a level 1 user. They will, however, be responsible for determining how many members of staff need to have access to the SMS, as well as what level of permission they should have. In addition, they will effectively have responsibility for the activities of all users of the SMS portal.
  • The level 1 user(s) will normally be the person(s) who carry out your organisation’s immigration work on a day-to-day basis. Level 1 users will have full access to the sponsor licence management portal, and will be expected to undertake routine sponsorship activities such as the assignment of certificates of sponsorship, and the reporting of migrant activity and any changes in circumstances. The level 1 user will be able to view information about your organisation’s sponsor licence, and let UKVI know about any changes to the organisation. It is also the level 1 user who will be expected to apply to renew your business’s sponsor licence, and to track the progress of the application.

Can one person be the authorising officer and level 1 user?

It is permissible for multiple key personnel roles managing an organisation’s sponsor licence to be filled by the same person – and yes, this can include the authorising officer and the level 1 user being the same person.

In any case, it is only level 1 and level 2 users who actually have access to the SMS portal. So, if the authorising officer or the key contact do need to have access to the sponsor licence management system, they will also need to be set up as either a level 1 or level 2 user regardless.

Does my company need a hard copy of its compliance documents?

Here at Cranbrook Legal, our central London-based immigration solicitors realise that it can feel like an overwhelming task for your organisation to keep on top of its compliance duties. That is no less the case when it comes to the sponsor licence, although keeping on top of your compliance duties will nonetheless be crucial if you are to preserve your status as a licensed sponsor.

The good news on this question, is that there is nothing in the Home Office rules specifically stating that your organisation needs to retain hard copies – as in, paper documents – of its sponsor licence compliance paperwork. So, if you are seeking to achieve or maintain a ‘paperless office’ at your company, it is perfectly acceptable to maintain your compliance documents in electronic form only.

However, regardless of whether you store your sponsor licence documents in electronic or hard-copy form, it is crucial to ensure the following is the case:

  • Your recordkeeping is up to date. Remember that the Home Office can conduct compliance visits to premises of licensed sponsors, without letting the sponsor know of this beforehand. You will therefore need to make sure that at any given time, your organisation’s sponsor licence compliance documents are up to date, so that you are not caught out and potentially subject to Home Office penalties.
  • It is easy to locate your sponsor licence records. Your level 1 user might have an excellent system for keeping records in relation to your organisation’s sponsor licence duties, but you will not want a situation where the level 1 user is the only person who knows where those records are. After all, the Home Office could conceivably pay a visit to your business’s site when the level 1 user is ill or away on holiday. So, ensuring your records are easily locatable is a must.
  • It is easy to access your sponsor licence records. It is essential that sponsor licence records are accessible to the Home Office on request. This might sound like an obvious enough requirement, but issues can sometimes arise when a business chooses to store its sponsor licence records away from its premises as a way of minimising overheads. While it is not necessarily a bad thing to store sponsor licence documents off-site, if this is the route your organisation has chosen, it is essential to have arrangements in place whereby records can be quickly and easily accessed – for example, copies of the records being stored electronically.

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How often does my company need to update the sponsor licence management system?

Compliance with the sponsor licence requirements that the Home Office sets out is not something that you will only need to achieve occasionally, or “every now and then”; it is an ongoing concern. So, your personnel who have direct access to the sponsor licence management system should be striving to keep it constantly up to date.

Remember: the Home Office has powers to carry out both announced and unannounced visits to the physical sites of sponsor licence holders, not only before the given organisation has been granted a sponsor licence, but also during the company’s time as a licensed sponsor.

If officials from the Home Office do visit, your organisation will need to be able to provide access to relevant documentation on request, so you will not want any of that documentation to be out of date. Failure to keep on top of your sponsor licence recordkeeping could run the risk of the Home Office finding you in breach, with the possible consequence of your organisation’s sponsor licence being downgraded, suspended, or revoked. This, then, is an extremely serious matter.

How can we help manage the sponsor licence management system on your company’s behalf?

Our team at Cranbrook Legal is pleased to be able to provide training to a wide range of organisations so that their level 1 and level 2 users can make the most of the functionality of the sponsor licence management portal.  

However, we also recognise that with your organisation being likely to wish to spend as much time as possible focusing on its core business, you might be eager to put further safeguards in place, to help ensure you do not fall out of compliance at any stage.

This concern might lead you to consider having a specialist from our company act as a level 1 user for your organisation, with access to your SMS portal.

The way this service works is simple; as a licensed sponsor, your organisation will be able to appoint additional level 1 or level 2 users who are employed by third-party organisations. By appointing an expert from Cranbrook Legal to a level 1 role with access to the sponsor licence management system on your firm’s behalf, you can help ensure you keep on top of your sponsor licence compliance duties.

There are various tasks that one of our experts could undertake for your firm as a level 1 user. These include not only the delivery of training in how to use the SMS portal to your own organisation’s staff, but also such processes as increasing certificate of sponsorship (CoS) allocations, and even carrying out the work needed to renew your firm’s sponsor licence, when the time comes.

Would you like to learn more about what our services in relation to the sponsor licence management system could mean for your organisation, making the most of our in-depth knowhow in UK immigration law? If so, please don’t wait any longer to reach out to the Cranbrook Legal team today; you can request a free consultation with us online, or call us on 0208 215 0053.

Why Choose Us For Your SMS Level 1 & 2 User Training?

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Contact our Immigration Solicitors In London on 0208 215 0053 or
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