UKVI’s latest position on absences arising from the Coronavirus pandemic

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UKVI’s latest position on absences arising from the Coronavirus pandemic

March 23rd, 2020, Legal Updates, News

Tier 2 sponsors take their compliance duties seriously and usually they must report to the Home Office if a sponsored worker does not ‘turn up for their first day of work’. Once a sponsored worker has commenced employment, the sponsor must then report if the worker is absent from work for more than 10 consecutive working days without permission. However, in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has updated their position ( https://bit.ly/2Uosk1d ), which states that: 

“Licensed Tier 2, Tier 4 or Tier 5 sponsors: absences due to coronavirus

Some Tier 4 students or Tier 2/5 employees may be prevented from attending their studies or employment due to illness, the need to serve a period of quarantine or the inability to travel due to travel restrictions caused by coronavirus.

Sponsors do not need to report student or employee absences related to coronavirus which they have authorised.

Sponsors do not need to withdraw sponsorship if they consider there are exceptional circumstances when:

  • a student will be unable to attend for more than 60 days
  • an employee is absent from work without pay for four weeks or more

Decisions on whether to withdraw a student from their studies or terminate an employment are for sponsors to make. The Home Office recognises the current situation is exceptional and will not take any compliance action against students or employees who are unable to attend their studies/work due to the coronavirus outbreak, or against sponsors which authorise absences and continue to sponsor students or employees despite absences for this reason.

The Home Office will keep this under review, especially if the length of absences mean a potential repeat of period of studies become necessary”

What should sponsors do ?

If workers who are sponsored are absent from work due to coronavirus, employers do not have to report anything to the Home Office or cancel the employees sponsorship. Nonetheless we would recommend that sponsors maintain copies of emails or notes of their discussions with the sponsored employee to be able to show that absence was due to Coronavirus.

Our team of legal experts can help you. We’re continuing to work throughout the pandemic as our business is already being carried out remotely, so it’s not a substantial disruption to the way that we deliver our service to you during this unusual time.

We will be continuing to provide sponsors with updates when any further Home Office guidance is published.

However, if you have any questions or concerns, contact Hateem Ali, Head of Corporate & Private Immigration, directly on hali@gscsolicitors.com or 020 7822 2209.

© 2020 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved.  GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

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