I am an owner of a small startup in UK and have a small team. I offered an oversea student (his student Tier 4 visa is end on this year Jan) an internship role from last year Sept to Dec.

However, his first 3 months performance is very bad: come to work late and leave early. I don't want to renew his contract, but he promised he would work very hard and he apologies that he cannot focus on the work just because he has some problems with family. He sent an email to say sorry and promise he would work very hard and try his best to contribute to my company.

So I decide to pay the visa agent to sponsor his Tier 5 visa. However, on the early of Jan, after he submitted the visa application, he suddenly refused to work any more on the second day. On our last conversation, he claims that currently he is preparing for applying big company and also applying PhD study. Thus he claims he is too busy to work.

Now, he blocked my phone number, and didn't reply me email or msg. And my other employees told me that they saw this student was preparing the PhD proposal on last year intern. Because this student always pretend to be very nice to colleagues, they don't want to tell me on him at that time.

Is there anyone can tell me what should I do right now? I know I should ask lawyer, but it takes time and expensive, I want to know what can I do currently and what should I prepare? I am not local people and have not clear idea about the law. One of my friend tells me that this is my responsibility that I didn't do a detail check before sponsoring his visa, so I cannot ask home office to pause his visa application and decline him. I am very angry and I don't want to pay him anymore.

--- UPDATE one ---

remove some sensitive information: day, location, nationality, and ethnic.

--- UPDATE two ---

I got advices from lawyer, and reported him to UK home office & UK border authority to withdraw his visa. Thanks everyone.

  • 28
    Of course you can tell the home office that you are not sponsoring his visa anymore, and the reasons. Especially if he refused work one day after you paid out. There is no reason why you shouldn't tell them any facts that would be relevant to the application. Apart from that, you've been had.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 23:17
  • @gnasher729 thanks. Is there any negative impact on my company since I didn't realise his real purpose at that moment? Can I ask that student to pay back the visa application fees and agent fees?
    – BigDay
    Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 23:32
  • 1
    you could ask... but I don't think you'll get anywhere with that
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 23:42
  • 5
    my friend tells me [...] certification Unless my friend is a) a lawyer and b) my lawyer, I would't stop there in my quest for advice
    – rath
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 17:00
  • 3
    I'm sorry, you hired someone, they basically didn't work for 3 months and then you renewed their contract(visa)? And you're asking what you should do? Buddy, you should probably not be running a business. Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 23:34

4 Answers 4


Obviously you made a mistake continuing with the visa and employing after his lacklustre performance as an intern.

You certainly don't have to pay him - he's already broken the employment contract by refusing to work. Payment is commensurate to that work.

Not sure about the visa - but your first stop should be to read the UK government website regarding the visa, and your obligations and rights as a sponsor. Then, possibly a lawyer.

Whatever you do, do not take guy this back at any price or on any promise - he's already shown himself to be unreliable and untrustworthy, and unworthy of a second chance.

  • Yes, I agree that I am totally wrong and make a very big mistake. What I am worried is that would hurt my sponsor certification since I just got Tier 2 sponsorship recently.
    – BigDay
    Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 23:50
  • I would certainly not take him back now.
    – BigDay
    Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 23:51
  • 11
    Being cheated is not your fault. Report it.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 0:19
  • 2
    @BigDay - you gave him a chance to clean up his act and he didn't. You don't have to be embarrassed about that part. You should probably review how long it took you to catch on to him and fix that but you'll be quicker to verify next time. Live and learn - at the end of the day, we all liv and learn :) Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 14:12

The solution is trivial to describe, but will take time and effort to see through:

Get a lawyer.

You signed a contract with another party and that party is in breach of that contract. When dealing with employment law, acting randomly without a lawyer is usually very expensive.

  • Acting randomly without a lawyer is usually more expensive. Not that good lawyers are cheap, but nice answer. XD Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 13:57
  1. Stop the bleeding of your cash. Don't give him any more money. I was going to say "Don't pay him any more" but you can only pay for goods bought or services rendered and from your narrative, it's not clear that he performed any services that you could justify paying him for. Let the visa agent know that you are very unhappy with his performance.

  2. He is a sunk cost. Don't bother with him any more. You're most likely are not going to get any of your money back from him. In the meantime, the work that you hired him for needs doing and you need to get somebody to do the work.

  3. I don't know how you run your startup. I am guessing that his failure to perform should have impacted your staff and your staff should have been pretty incensed with him. If your staff were unhappy with him, this should have percolated to you. I'd add that I'd expect your staff to be a lot less forgiving of his failure to perform than you are. I can tell you that if I have to put in extra time because someone on my team is not pulling their weight, I'd waste no time going to management.

Next time, be quick about cutting your losses. At the places where I work, my recommendation is to be fast about hiring and even faster about firing. I'll have someone start in the morning and I'll have no compunction about firing him that same afternoon if his walk doesn't match his talk. I won't have this guy hindering my team and jeopardizing their deadlines.

  • 2
    thanks very much. My co-founder and colleagues are very unhappy, and we have to start a new hiring schema right now. I would not pay him any more and arrange an appointment with lawyer on next week. I really want this guy to be deported.
    – BigDay
    Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 23:58
  • 1
    @BigDay Getting the guy deported is not going to fix anything. Report what you have to (=he's not working for you anymore) and leave the rest to the immigration authorities. Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 13:27

You could go to the police and try to charge him with fraud. You have evidence (that you need to keep) that he made promises to "work very hard and try his best to contribute to my company"; it is obvious that this was a lie, since one day after you paid for the visa application, he stopped working. That is the definition of fraud, to make someone part with their money by convincing them of something that isn't true.

How successful that would be, no idea. On the other hand, it is very little work for you.

  • 3
    might be better to just report it as possible visa fraud also. They might take more notice of that. Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 7:44

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