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Mergers and Acquisitions Your responsibilities as a Home Office sponsor

Immtell is the perfect partner for any organisation going through a merger or acquisition (M&A). Our experienced UK immigration specialists have a deep understanding of UK immigration law and the Home Office’s guidance, allowing us to assist you in ensuring that you remain compliant and retain your sponsored workers.

The UK immigration landscape is constantly changing, and that can make staying compliant with immigration law and the Home Office’s guidance a difficult task. That’s where Immtell comes in. Our team of highly experienced immigration experts have worked with countless organisations through a merger or acquisition, and offer the best advice and guidance to ensure that all legal matters are taken care of.

We understand that each situation is unique, and we work hard to ensure that your business remains on the right side of the law. We provide tailored advice and assistance, helping you to retain your sponsored workers in the most cost-effective manner. We also provide ongoing support and advice, so that your business remains compliant as the UK immigration rules continue to evolve.

Navigating M&A: Essential UK Immigration Considerations

In the world of business, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) present unique challenges and opportunities for companies. As organisations expand and evolve, they often turn to M&A as a strategy to achieve growth and gain a competitive edge. However, UK immigration considerations can play a crucial role in the success or failure of these endeavours.

When navigating M&A, understanding the intricacies of UK immigration law and policy is essential. Companies must be aware of the potential impact on their workforce and ensure compliance with relevant regulations. From visa requirements and work permits to sponsorship and compliance, there are various factors that need to be considered to ensure a smooth transition and seamless integration of new talent.

Here we will explore the essential UK immigration considerations that companies must bear in mind when undertaking M&A. By providing insights into the legal requirements and best practices, we aim to equip businesses with the knowledge and tools needed to navigate the complex landscape of UK immigration in the context of M&A.

The importance of considering immigration in M&A deals

In the ever-changing global business landscape, M&A transactions have become increasingly common. Companies merge or acquire other entities to expand their market presence, access new technologies, or diversify their product offerings. While there are numerous aspects to consider during an M&A deal, immigration should not be overlooked.

Immigration considerations are crucial because they can directly impact the success of the deal. Failure to comply with immigration laws can result in delays, fines, and even the inability to complete the transaction. Additionally, a lack of understanding of immigration regulations can lead to the loss of key talent, which can significantly affect the value and integration of the acquired business.

Overview of UK immigration laws and regulations

To effectively navigate UK immigration considerations in the context of M&A, it is important to have a clear understanding of the country’s immigration laws and regulations. The UK operates a points-based immigration system, which categorises migrants into different tiers based on various factors such as skills, qualifications, and job offers.

The key immigration routes for skilled workers in the UK include the Skilled Worker visa and the Global Business Mobility Visa (Senior or Specialist Worker). The Skilled Worker visa is designed for skilled workers who have a job offer from a UK employer and meet the required points threshold. On the other hand, the GBM Senior or Specialist Worker visa which replaced the previous Intra-Company Transfer ICT) visa, is for multinational companies transferring employees from overseas offices to the UK.

Key Immigration Considerations for M&A Transactions

Engaging in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) presents complex challenges, and overlooking immigration aspects can lead to unintended consequences. Below are key factors companies must consider when embarking on M&A transactions:

Due Diligence
Begin with a thorough audit of the target company's immigration compliance. Understand their foreign national employee population, visa types, and expiration dates. This provides clarity on potential liabilities and ensures there are no nasty surprises post-acquisition.
Maintain Worker Status
Ensure that foreign national employees of the acquired company continue to maintain their lawful immigration status. Any disruptions can jeopardise the transition and affect the morale and stability of the workforce.
Home Office Sponsor Licences
M&A activities can impact the status of sponsor licences significantly:
  • Retention or Update: Depending on the transaction nature, decide whether to retain the licence in its current form or update it to mirror new ownership or structural shifts.
  • Transfer of Sponsored Workers: If there's an ownership or parent company change, sponsored workers might need transitioning to the purchasing entity's licence. This procedure requires precision to guarantee a smooth transfer for these workers.
  • Application for a New Licence: If the buying entity lacks a sponsor licence, they'll need to acquire one to uphold the work rights of the sponsored employees of the entity being acquired. This application process, while vital, demands intensive preparation.
  • Continuous Compliance: Keeping in line with Home Office regulations is crucial throughout the M&A process. Ensuring continuous compliance protects against potential legal complications.
Right to Work Checks
Post-transaction, it's crucial to re-verify the right to work for all employees, ensuring the company remains compliant and avoids any associated penalties.
Future Immigration Strategy
Post-acquisition, define a clear strategy for how the company will handle immigration matters moving forward. Consider things like future hiring needs, potential visa sponsorship, and strategic planning for a global workforce.
Keeping open lines of communication with affected employees ensures transparency and can help alleviate any anxieties they may have about their future work status.
Legal Guidance
Immigration laws can be intricate and continually evolving. Engaging with immigration experts, such as Immtell ensures that all considerations are adequately addressed, and the company remains compliant throughout the transaction.

Addressing these considerations head-on ensures a smoother transaction, mitigates risks, and sets the stage for a successful integration of the entities involved.

Preparing for employee transfers and visa applications

During an M&A deal, it is common for companies to transfer employees from the acquired business to the acquiring company. This often involves relocating employees to the UK or transferring existing UK-based employees to new roles within the merged entity. It is essential to ensure that the necessary visa applications and documentation are prepared and submitted in a timely manner to avoid any disruptions to business operations. In certain circumstances sponsorship of individuals can be transferred by way of reporting to the Home Office via the Sponsor Management System (SMS).

Dealing with compliance and due diligence

Compliance with immigration laws and regulations is of utmost importance during M&A transactions. Failing to comply can have severe consequences, including fines, reputational damage, revocation or suspension of a Sponsor Licence which could lead to the inability to continue employing sponsored workers and even legal action. As part of the due diligence process, companies should thoroughly assess the immigration compliance of the acquired business, identify any potential risks or issues, and develop strategies to mitigate them.

Mitigating risks and ensuring compliance during the M&A process

To ensure a smooth transition during an M&A deal, it is crucial to mitigate immigration-related risks and ensure compliance at every stage of the process. Here are some best practices to consider:

  • Conduct thorough due diligence on the immigration status of employees and potential risks.
  • Seek professional legal advice to navigate the complexities of UK immigration laws.
  • Develop a comprehensive plan for employee transfers, including visa applications and documentation.
  • Communicate openly and transparently with employees, providing support and guidance throughout the process.
  • Keep up to date with changes in immigration laws and regulations to ensure ongoing compliance.

By taking these steps, companies can minimise disruptions, protect their reputation, and maximise the success of the M&A transaction.

Seeking legal advice for immigration matters in M&A deals

Given the complexity of UK immigration laws and the potential impact on M&A transactions, seeking professional legal advice is highly recommended. Immigration lawyers specialising in corporate immigration, such as the team at Immtell can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the process, ensuring compliance and minimising risks.

Immtell’s M&A specialists can help companies navigate the intricacies of immigration law, advise on Home Office sponsor licence and visa requirements, assist with visa applications, and provide ongoing support to ensure compliance with changing regulations. Our expertise can be invaluable in facilitating a smooth and successful M&A transaction. Connect with us to see how we can support and streamline your M&A journey.