Due to the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic the UK has called for a lockdown to encourage social distancing. Due to this, many workers have been encouraged to work from home where possible. Educational institutions have also been closed and advised to continue teaching through online platforms.
Generally, Sponsors for Tier 2, Tier 4 or Tier 5 are required to report absences to the Home Office. As of recent, Sponsors are not required to report any absences where the migrant employees and students have been absent due to a consequence of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Home Office released a guidance document on 17th February 2020 which provided advice to Sponsors on worker and student absences.
It states: “The Home Office recognises the current situation is exceptional and will not take any compliance action against students or employees who are unable to attend their studies/work due to the coronavirus outbreak, or against sponsors which authorise absences and continue to sponsor students or employees despite absences for this reason. The Home Office will keep this under review, especially if the length of absences mean a potential repeat of period of studies become necessary.”
Therefore, the Home Office have required Sponsors to consider any absences relating to Coronavirus as an authorised absence.
Further to this, Sponsors are usually required to report any changes in the location the migrant employee is working. The guidance provides that the Sponsor will also not need to report if a migrant employee is working from home as this is a direct effect of the Coronavirus outbreak.
Even though Sponsor reporting duties have been relaxed by the Home Office, we recommend that Sponsors continue keeping a record of all absences for all migrant workers and students.
If you have any queries relating to Sponsor Licence or Sponsor duties during this time, please fill out the enquiry form on the ‘Contact Us’ tab.