Introduction
What has changed?
What actions should sponsors take?
Comment


Introduction

In new guidance, the Home Office has confirmed that hybrid and remote working locations must be reported for sponsored workers. Sponsors should review the work location information recorded for all sponsored workers and consider making updates on the sponsor management system (SMS) as appropriate.

This change is important because during the pandemic, the Home Office published guidance for sponsors confirming that they were not required to notify the Home Office about sponsored workers working from home due to coronavirus.

Many businesses switched to remote working during the covid-19 lockdown periods, and then made temporary or permanent changes to their working arrangements afterwards. These changes may have been to the business's office locations (including giving up permanent office premises) or to the location(s) and pattern of attendance for workers.

The updated guidance signals that permanent post-pandemic remote or hybrid working arrangements must be reported.

What has changed?

Part three of the sponsor guidance for workers and temporary workers was updated on 31 March 2023 to include additional text on sponsors' duty to notify the Home Office of a sponsored worker's normal work location. Temporary changes in work location that are not part of a regular working pattern need not be reported.

The guidance confirms that where a worker's normal work location (as noted on their certificate of sponsorship) changes, the sponsor must report this, including where:

  • the worker is or will be working at a different site, branch or office of the sponsor, or at a different client site, and this has not previously been notified to the Home Office;
  • the worker is or will be working remotely from home on a permanent or full-time basis (with little or no requirement to attend a workplace); and/or
  • the worker has moved or will move to a hybrid working pattern, (ie, they will work remotely on a regular and planned basis from their home or another address, like a work hub space) other than a declared client site or address listed on the sponsor's licence, as well as working regularly at a declared client site or an address listed on the licence.

Reports of changes to a sponsored worker's circumstances must be made using the SMS within 10 working days of the change occurring. However, due to the nature of this change in guidance, it is likely that if sponsors now act as soon as practicable to comply with it, the Home Office will take a pragmatic approach regarding late notifications.

What actions should sponsors take?

Sponsors should review the work location details currently recorded on the SMS for their sponsored workers and make notifications as appropriate to ensure that all locations which are part of their regular working pattern are accurately reflected.

Comment

The guidance is silent on what consequences may flow from reporting that a worker is working from home on a permanent or full-time basis. Sponsors should be aware that the Home Office may query whether there is a need for the worker to be based in the United Kingdom where there is no requirement for them to physically attend a workplace and should be ready to justify this on a case-by-case basis.

For further information on this topic please contact Supinder Singh Sian, Naomi Hanrahan-Soar or Kathryn Denyer at Lewis Silkin by telephone (+44 20 7074 8000‚Äč) or email ([email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]). The Lewis Silkin website can be accessed at www.lewissilkin.com.