Sponsor licence duties for skilled workers and the effects of COVID
As mentioned in a previous post, certain rules have been relaxed due to the pandemic, such as not having to report absences related to coronavirus and not having to report an employee working from home.
What are the duties as a sponsor?
The sponsor has a duty to monitor an employee to make sure they are adhering to the terms of their visa, such as:
- Monitoring immigration status
- Tracking and recording employees’ attendance
- Reporting to UKVI if there is a problem.
Record keeping duties
- Keep a copy of the worker’s passport including entry clearance and other stamps and their visa
- A copy of the worker’s national insurance number and a formal document which confirms it, such as: the card or letter it came on, wage slips, P45, P60
- A record of the worker’s up-to-date and previous contact details and address
- A record of the worker’s absences from the UK and times they have taken annual leave
- A copy of the employment contract
- Copies of wage slips including allowances and employee benefits
- Copies of relevant qualifications that are required for the role
Some situations must be reported to the Home Office by the employer within 10 days of happening, such as:
- A worker not starting the role for which they have been sponsored
- If the worker is absent from work for more than 10 days in a row- unless they are absent due to coronavirus
- If there are significant changes to the worker’s employment- this does not include working from home
- If you stop sponsoring the worker before the end date on the CoS
Sponsor licence duties and COVID
The Home Office acknowledges that during this time, work life may have altered, so much so, that they have changed rules to fit around this. For example, government job support schemes are available to sponsored workers in the same way as resident workers.
However, the UK government makes it clear that workers, whether migrant or resident, should be treated the same and it should not be a reason to avoid duties or responsibilities such as paying less than the approved wage for the occupational code.
Although monitoring employees may be more difficult now that many are working from home, sponsors must still adhere to their duties set out by the Home Office. It is therefore important that sponsors keep up-to-date with changing information such as an employee’s address and keep track of when an employee is working and not working. Having regular check-ins with an employee that is working from home will help to keep up with duties as a sponsor.
Should you have any queries regarding the above information or if you require assistance with your corporate, employment or immigration matter, please get in touch with a legal professional at Hudson McKenzie via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone +44(0) 20 3318 5794.
The information provided does not amount to legal advice.