Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

Sponsors no longer need to report changes to hybrid and remote working

Employers who sponsor migrant workers must comply with a number of sponsor duties to avoid breaching the conditions of their licence.

Last year, effective from March 2023, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) announced that it expected sponsors to report hybrid and remote working patterns. Given that many employers allow flexibility in this area, having to report such changes was time consuming.

In a welcome move, UKVI published updated Sponsor Guidance on 5 March 2024 which removed this requirement.

UKVI’s reasoning  

The updated Sponsor Guidance explains UKVI’s reasoning:

We recognise that many organisations have adopted a “hybrid working” model, where their workers work remotely (from either their home or another remote site, such as a work hub space) on a regular basis, as well as regularly attending a ‘traditional’ work location (such as one or more of your offices or branches, or a client site)…

Some reports are still needed

UKVI has confirmed that sponsors “no longer need to tell us if a sponsored worker is moving to a hybrid working pattern but you must continue to report any changes to their main office work location, or of any new client sites, if applicable, and maintain suitable records of your sponsored workers’ working patterns”.

In such cases, it is important that employers are aware that UKVI can ask for an explanation as to why the sponsored worker needs to live in the UK at all.

Compliance

UKVI’s officers carry out on-site in person audits as well as remote ones to check compliance. It is therefore important that sponsors retain records, including relating to sponsored worker’s work patterns, to demonstrate that they understand and comply with the Sponsor Guidance.

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Nichola Carter

Nichola Carter

Nichola heads the immigration team at Carter Thomas (www.carterthomas.co.uk). A lawyer with 20 years' experience, she also sits on The Law Society’s Immigration Committee. Nichola's main work relates to advising businesses, universities and schools on sponsor applications and compliance, and individuals seeking to come under the Global Talent, family and other routes . She regularly provides media comment including for the BBC and FT and is happy to be contacted for comment. Nichola tweets from @carternichola and her email is ncarter@carterthomas.co.uk.

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