Many businesses rely heavily on Home Office licences that enable them to sponsor the entry into the UK of skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area. As a High Court case showed, however, such licences are a privilege, not an entitlement, and can be withdrawn at short notice in cases of impropriety.
The case concerned a company that provided recruitment, training and consultancy services. It used its licence to sponsor the entry into the UK of four overseas workers, who were described as an accountant, two business development managers and a human resources manager. Following an inquiry as to their roles, however, the company’s licence was first suspended, then revoked.
In challenging that decision, the company claimed that it was irrational and infected by procedural errors. It argued, amongst other things, that describing a job is an inexact science. The company was relatively small and senior personnel were required to ‘muck in’ and occasionally perform more junior roles.
In rejecting the company's complaints, however, the Court noted that the licensing regime required the company to provide scrupulously accurate information to the Home Office. There was no room for artistic licence, whether in the attribution of job titles or otherwise. The company had been given a fair chance to refute investigators’ concerns but had failed to do so. They were thus entitled to conclude that the seniority of the four workers’ roles had been deliberately exaggerated.