Sponsors should be aware that changing the location of a Tier 2 sponsored employee from that stated on his or her Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) can only be carried out if certain UKVI pre-conditions are met.
Below, we summarise the different circumstances requiring a change of location and UKVI's pre-conditions as well as the latest guidance from UKVI on this topic.
Relocation to a different site of the same organisation
The pre-conditions to the move in this instance are that the new site has been reported to, and approved by, UKVI as an additional site on the Tier 2 sponsor licence. Evidence of ownership/ control of the new premises, e.g. a lease, will need to be provided.
Once the additional site has been approved by UKVI, the sponsor can go ahead with changing the location of the Tier 2 migrant worker to that site.
Relocation to a different branch of the same entity
This is the instance where the change of location is to a different entity to the sponsor but one that is connected by common ownership or control as defined by UKVI.
The pre-conditions to the move here are that the “branch” has been reported to, and approved by, UKVI as a "branch" on the Tier 2 sponsor licence. Evidence of the connection between the two entities, e.g. audited accounts showing the relationship, will need to be provided.
Once the “branch” has been approved by UKVI, the sponsor can go ahead with changing the location of the Tier 2 migrant worker to that entity.
Secondment to a third party
If a Tier 2 sponsored worker is to be seconded to work at a client's or supplier’s site where there is no connection to the sponsor by common ownership or control, the issue becomes more complex. Sponsored workers can carry out work for a third party on behalf of the sponsor only where they will be working on a time-bound service or project on behalf of that sponsor.
In its latest Tier 2 Sponsor guidance, UKVI has provided further clarification by stating that Tier 2 migrant workers must not be:
- Agency workers, hired to a third party to fill a position with them, whether temporary or permanent.
- Contracted to undertake an ongoing routine role or to provide an ongoing routine service for the third party.
It is vital that a sponsor remains in control of its sponsored migrant throughout the period of the secondment and is able to show that it retains full responsibility for deciding the duties, functions and outcomes/ outputs of the job.
The third party in this instance should be aware that, when the sponsor reports the migrant’s secondment to UKVI, the third party may be contacted by UKVI for confirmation of this arrangement and may even be visited.
The third party, however, does not need to be added onto the sponsor licence prior to the sponsored migrant's move.
There may be instances where the Tier 2 sponsored worker needs to be seconded overseas. Whether the migrant worker will be working for the same entity overseas, a branch or a third party, the sponsor in the UK will need to consider whether sponsorship can continue or whether it needs to be withdrawn.
This will depend on several factors, including the duration of secondment and whether the sponsor is able to continue to meet its sponsorship duties/ obligations while the Tier 2 worker is overseas.
Points to note
- A change of location must be reported on the Sponsor Management System within 10 working days of the change.
- Sponsorship duties do not end when a sponsored migrant changes location. Sponsorship duties will need to be maintained throughout.
- A migrant worker’s file needs to reflect the change of location and, where applicable, the terms of secondment in line with UKVI's requirements.