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Covid-19: Home Office latest updates on Tier 2, 4 and 5 sponsors (20 April 2020)

Date: 20/04/2020
Duncan Lewis, Business Immigration Solicitors, Covid-19: Home Office latest updates on Tier 2, 4 and 5 sponsors

Tier 2, 4 and 5 Sponsors (14 April 2020)

Students / Employee absent from studies or work

The Home Office will not take any action against sponsors if their students or employees are absent from work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sponsors are no longer required to report their employees/students absences due to coronavirus. This can include absences due to sickness, self-isolation or travel restrictions.

Sponsors do not need to withdraw sponsorship if, due to coronavirus:

  • a student is unable to attend for more than 60 days,

  • an employee is absent from work without pay for more than 4 weeks.

These arrangements are in place until 31 May 2020 and will be subject to further reviews.

Certificate of Sponsorships (COS- Tier 2), Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS Tier 4)

If, as a sponsor, you have issued a certificate of sponsorship for a student or worker where they have been unable to travel to the UK due to coronavirus and the start date may have changed on their certificates, the Home Office will not refuse those applications automatically. Those certificates which have become invalid may still be accepted and will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Students waiting for their visa applications to be decided

As a sponsor you may allow those students to start studying before their application is decided if:

  • you are a Tier 4 sponsor (other than a Tier 4 Legacy Sponsor)

  • you have assigned the student a CAS

  • the student submitted their application before their current visa expired and has shown you evidence of this

  • the course they start is the same as the one listed on their CAS

  • the student has a valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if required

Your reporting responsibilities start from the date that you issue the CAS, not from the date that their application is granted. If the student’s application is eventually rejected as invalid or refused you must terminate the student’s studies.

Tier 2 Employees working from Home

You do not have to notify the Home Office if you are sponsoring employees who are working from home due to coronavirus. Other changes to their working arrangements must still be reported as usual.

If you are sponsoring an employee who is waiting for their Tier 2 or 5 visa application to be decided

You may allow employees to start work before their visa application has been decided if:

  • you have assigned them a CoS

  • the employee submitted their application before their current visa expired

  • the role they are employed in is the same as the one on their CoS

Your reporting responsibilities for an employee start from the date you have assigned them a CoS, not from the date that their application is granted.

Reduced salaries – Tier 2 sponsors

You can temporarily reduce the pay of your sponsored employees to 80% of their salary or £2,500 per month, whichever is the lower.
Any reductions must be part of a company-wide policy to avoid redundancies and in which all workers are treated the same.

These reductions must be temporary, and the employee’s pay must return to at least previous levels once these arrangements have ended.

UK visa fees (6 April 2020)

New Home Office immigration and nationality fees for 6 April 2020 remain unchanged.

We are stringently following the government advice here at Duncan Lewis Solicitors and are on standby to advise and assist you with all your immigration enquiries.

Author Tamana Aziz is a director in the business immigration department at Duncan Lewis. Her specialist practice includes immigration applications under EU law, business immigration under the Points Based System (PBS), complex appeals (including deportation and country guidance cases) in Immigration Tribunals, the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

Contact Tamana on 020 3114 1130 or at tamanaa@duncanlewis.com

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