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

COVID-19 Update: Relaxation of Sponsorship Duties

As a consequence of the global outbreak of Coronavirus, the Home Office has now relaxed some of the duties carried out by sponsors of visa applicants. The radical reason for this is because Tier 4 students and Tier 2/5 employees are likely to be inhibited from working or attending universities, for self-isolation and restricted travel purposes.

In the current climate, sponsors are no longer required to report student or employee absences, which they had previously authorised, relating to Coronavirus. They are also not required to withdraw sponsorship if and when either a student is unable to attend university for more than 60 days or an employee is absent from work without pay for four weeks or more. This is provided the sponsor considers there are exceptional circumstances surrounding this.

The Home Office is now giving sponsors the flexibility to decide on whether to withdraw students from their studies or terminate workers’ employment. The Home Office acknowledges that the current set of circumstances are exceptional and so, it will not take any action against students or employees who incur absences as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

If you have arrived in the UK but you cannot attend the workplace on your contractual start date because of COVID-19:

Those arriving into the UK and are obligated to self-isolate and not attend their workplace should consider the following:

  •  Provide a scanned copy of their passport or visa/Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) to their employer. If they do not have access to a scanner, then they can simply take a photograph of either of these and send it to the appropriate work department. 
  • Where the individual has already provided a copy of the above-mentioned documents, the relevant department should check their validity as normal. If in doubt, please contact the HR Compliance Team for verification. If circumstances permit, the department can conduct a short video call with the individual to determine they are the rightful holder, however this is not mandatory. 
  • It is important to note that employers are still obliged to sign/date and record the time the Right to Work documentation. The employer must also continue to annotate the copies with this specific wording: “Copy seen via email due to Coronavirus/COVID-19. Document has been checked and approved by HR Compliance”. If the employer is working from home and it is not possible to annotate the documentation, we recommend you retain the email via which the right to work documentation was received as proof of date and time it was received.

Coronavirus Immigration Helpline

Telephone: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) – calls are free of charge.

Email: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk

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

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