Q&As

If a sponsor is acquired by another company resulting in its direct ownership changing but where no sponsored workers are being transferred to the acquiring company, does this just need to be reported on the Sponsor Management System rather than requiring the sponsor to obtain a new sponsor licence? The acquiring company holds a sponsor licence under the same tier already.

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Produced in partnership with Joel Reiss of Latitude Law
Published on LexisPSL on 05/12/2018

The following Immigration Q&A produced in partnership with Joel Reiss of Latitude Law provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • If a sponsor is acquired by another company resulting in its direct ownership changing but where no sponsored workers are being transferred to the acquiring company, does this just need to be reported on the Sponsor Management System rather than requiring the sponsor to obtain a new sponsor licence? The acquiring company holds a sponsor licence under the same tier already.

Home Office guidance on mergers, takeovers and similar changes can be found in the Tiers 2 and 5: guidance for sponsors at section 13. Unfortunately, the guidance does not clearly differentiate between mergers, takeovers and other changes of ownership, making it difficult to identify how to proceed in some circumstances.

This Q&A deals specifically with a direct change of ownership—one sponsoring company being purchased by another. The Home Office is clear that they must be notified of such an occurrence:

‘13.1 You must report either:

  1. change of ownership

  2. a merger

  3. a takeover

  4. de-merger

If you fail to do so, we will take action against you. Any action could lead to any migrants you sponsor having their leave curtailed.’

Therefore, reporting the change via SMS is the minimum action required. The secondary issue is whether a new sponsor licence is also needed. Again, section 13.1 gives guidance:

‘Where ther

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