COVID-19 Update: Further Relaxation of Sponsorship Duties - | Hudson McKenzie

COVID-19 Update: Further Relaxation of Sponsorship Duties

As of 3rd April 2020, the Home Office has issued a further update for sponsors of Tier 4 students and Tier 2 and 5 employees. For the previous update and contact details, please read our publication: https://www.hudsonmckenzie.com/covid-19-update-relaxation-of-sponsorship-duties/

If you are a sponsor and any of the following scenarios apply to you, please see the latest advice below: –

Absences:

You are not required to report employee or student absences if they are associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, such as travel restrictions or self-isolation reasons. Equally, you do not need to withdraw sponsorship where:

  • Students are unable to attend their studies for 60 days or more
  • Employees are absent from workplace without being paid for 4 weeks or more

Distance learning:

You may proceed with sponsoring existing Tier 4 students who are pursuing their distance learning studies. You do not need to report to the Home Office when students switch to distance learning as a consequence of the pandemic.

New overseas students who have not applied for a visa but wish to commence a distance learning course do not require Tier 4 sponsorship. The reason behind this is because they do not need to travel to the UK.

For reasons aside from the coronavirus where a student has withdrawn or wishes to defer their studies, this must be reported in the normal prescribed fashion.

Working from home:

You do not need to report to the Home Office if employees change to working from home conditions due to COVID-19. Other disassociated changes should be notified as standard practice.

Unable to pay salaries:

If you have provisionally reduced or stopped trading because of the virus and you are unable to pay employees, you can decrease their pay either by 80% of their salary or by £2500 per month, whichever is the lowest amount.

The employees’ salaries must return to normal once these COVID-19 measures have ended and this must be adopted as part of a wide company policy to avoid redundancies and so forth.

After issuing a CoS or CAS the student or employee has not yet applied for a visa:

The student or employee can still apply for a visa if you have already issued a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) or a Confirmation of Acceptances for Studies (CAS).

Where a CoS or CAS has become invalid or prescribed employment dates have changed for reasons related to COVID-19, these will not automatically be refused and will be decided on a case by case basis.

Should you require further information regarding the above, please get in touch with the Global Mobility professional you deal with at Hudson McKenzie via email at londoninfo@hudsonmckenzie.com or by telephone +44(0) 20 3318 5794