As a Tier 2, 4 and 5 visa sponsor, it is imperative to stay updated on procedures which may impact you. If you are currently sponsoring someone affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), you must ensure you are acting in accordance to the latest legislations.
Here’s what you need to know.
(Updated as of 20 April 2020)
If your student or employee is absent:
- Enforcement action will not be taken against sponsors who continue to sponsor students/employees despite absences due to coronavirus – absences related to coronavirus do not need to be reported
- Sponsorship will not be withdrawn because of coronavirus
- Sponsorship will not be withdrawn if student is unable to attend for more than 60 days / employee is absent from work without pay for more than 4 weeks
This will be kept under continuous review.
If you’re sponsoring a student who is distance learning:
- Tier 4 students whether in the UK or another country can be sponsored if they are continuing their studies through distance learning
- If a student defers or permanently withdraws from their studies for reasons unrelated to coronavirus, this must be reported as usual
These procedures apply until 31 May 2020. They will be reviewed.
If you have issued a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) or a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) and the sponsored employee or student has not yet applied for a visa
- The employee or student will still be able to apply for a visa
- The start date for the course or employment stated on the CoSor CAS may have changed. We will not automatically refuse such cases
If you’re sponsoring a student who’s waiting for their Tier 4 visa application to be decided
You may allow students to start their studies before their visa application has been decided if:
- you are a Tier 4 sponsor (other than Tier 4 Legacy Sponsors)
- 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
- Reporting responsibilities commence from the date you issue the CAS
If you’re sponsoring employees who are working from home
- If sponsored employees are working from home due to coronavirus, the Home office does not need to be notified
- Other changes must be reported as usual
If you’re sponsoring an employee who’s 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
- Reporting responsibilities commence from the date you have assigned them a CoS
If you cannot pay the salaries of sponsored employees because you’ve temporarily reduced or ceased trading
- 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
For more information on Tier 2, 4 and 5 visa sponsors affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us on 01204 531 535 to book a telephone/Skype consultation. The fee is £30.
To limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), until further notice, our drop-in service and all scheduled appointments will be held remotely. Please be advised that whilst our remote drop-in service will be held on Mondays between 10am – 1:30pm, our Friday service (usually held in Preston) has been cancelled for the foreseeable future.
Thank you for your cooperation and stay safe.
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