Earlier this week, Appendix D was updated with a number of subtle clarifications and a key change to the sections on the sponsor’s duty to check the date a migrant entered the UK (see parts 1b and 6a). These sections have been updated to reflect the opening up of e-gates to other countries.
Sponsors must check the date on which the migrant entered the UK to ensure they entered during the validity of their visa. Normally, this can be done by looking for an entry stamp from an immigration officer (of which the sponsor should retain a copy).
Increasingly, however, migrants may not have an entry stamp. The use ePassport gates (‘eGates’) were opened up to other nationals on 20 May 2019 (see Home Office announcement). A migrant that enters through an eGate will not receive a stamp in their passport.
The update to Appendix D reminds sponsors that, even where no stamp is present, they must check the date of entry buy requesting other evidence, including, but not limited to, travel tickets or a boarding pass. Sponsors must make a note of this date and whilst Appendix D states that sponsors do not have to retain the evidence, our view is that it would be prudent to retain the evidence.
The changes to this guidance are a helpful reminder for sponsors to be continually aware of their sponsor duties. Failure to keep a required document in accordance with Appendix D could lead to action being taken against a sponsor by the Home Office such as downgrading of a Sponsor Licence.
The immigration team at Bates Wells have a wealth of experience in advising sponsors on a range of issues. If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article, please contact Chetal Patel, Partner in our immigration team.
All content on this page is correct as of August 8, 2019.