What is an Authorising Officer?

15 Nov 2022, 49 mins ago

Any company requesting a sponsor licence from the UK Home Office must fill the important position of the Authorising Officer (AO).

The AO controls the sponsor organisation’s overall compliance with their sponsor duties, and also oversees the conduct of all personnel and representatives who use the online Sponsorship Management System (SMS). The entity holding the sponsor licence is required to have an AO appointed for the duration of the licence. There cannot be a gap, a new AO needs to be appointed before the current one vacates this role.

The person appointed as AO must be based in the UK and be a permanent employee or an office holder at the sponsor organisation (i.e. a company director). They must be the most senior person within the organisation responsible for the recruitment of sponsored workers. Unlike other key personnel roles, employers cannot assign the AO role to a legal representative.

In general, the AO must not have any outstanding convictions, have engaged in any illegal activity, or have received a sanction related to their interactions with UK Visas and Immigration. 

It is important that the AO is aware of their duties while they are filling this role, which include (amongst other things) ensuring they are aware of who has access to the SMS and why, understanding which changes in sponsored employees’ and the organisation’s circumstances must be reported to the Home Office, and which documents need to be kept in relation to the sponsor licence and each sponsored migrant.

The AO will also be the first port of call for the Home Office in the event of an announced or unannounced audit, and will be expected to answer all questions in relation to the organisation’s sponsor licence, its administration and all sponsored migrants.

How Gherson can assist

Gherson advises on all areas of UK sponsorship, from sponsor licence applications and extensions to ongoing management and compliance. We provide training for key employees and can assist you if the Home Office asserts that your company has failed to uphold its compliance obligations.

If you have any questions arising from this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an email, or, alternatively, follow us on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

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