New scam targets sponsors

11 Nov 15

UNITED KINGDOM

IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? Employers sponsoring foreign workers have been targeted by fraudulent callers pretending to be U.K. Visas and Immigration officials and asking for their user details to access the Sponsor Management System (SMS).

What does the change mean? U.K. sponsors should be extra vigilant in protecting their SMS user details and be aware that the UKVI will never ask sponsors to divulge their user name or password under any circumstances. Sponsors who reveal their user details or agree to exchange money for certificates of sponsorships will be in breach of their sponsor duties and may be subject to compliance action, including revocation of their sponsor license.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: UKVI sponsorship.
  • Who is affected: All sponsors using the SMS.
  • Business impact: Disclosing SMS level 1 details to a third party constitutes a breach of sponsor rules.
  • Next steps: Sponsors should not reveal their SMS user details to anyone, including individuals claiming to be from UKVI.

Background: In recent days, several sponsors have reported receiving phone calls from individuals claiming to be from UKVI and asking for the sponsor’s username and password. In one case, the sponsor was told that its account was locked and needed to be reset; in another, the caller asked the sponsor to change its login details and provide them to the caller for which they would be paid £2000 for each certification of sponsorship assigned.

BAL Analysis: Employers should make sure staff are warned about the scams and are reminded that UKVI does not ask sponsors for their user details under any circumstances.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact uk@balglobal.com.

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