On 9th November 2022, the Home Office published changes to the official guidance for UK sponsor licence holders who recruit overseas workers. The changes affect employers who sponsor employees on a Skilled Worker, Global Business Mobility, T2 Minister of Religion, International Sportsperson visa, or temporary worker visa. The clarifications and changes made by the Home Office that sponsors should be aware of relating to work start dates, working hours, and pay. In this article, we will outline these main changes and explain the implications for UK sponsor licence holders.

New Start Date Flexibility

The Home Office has made changes to the sponsorship rules that mean a sponsored worker can start working before, or subject to certain acceptable reasons, start working more than 28 days after their intended employment start date.

Earlier Employment Start Date

Under the new guidance for UK sponsors, the Home Office has now clarified that a sponsored worker can start working for their UK employer even if this is before the start date on their Certificate of Sponsorship. The new guidance states, “A worker can start working in their sponsored employment as soon as they have permission to enter or stay in the UK, even if this is before the start date recorded on their CoS”. It also makes clear that where a sponsored worker commences their employment before the stated start date, there is no need to inform the Home Office.

Delayed Employment Start Date

The new guidance includes a concession providing a number of acceptable reasons for starting employment more than 28 days after the start date included on the employee’s Certificate of Sponsorship; these include if:

  • There is travel disruption as a result of a natural disaster, military conflict or pandemic
  • The sponsored employee is required to work out a period of contractual notice with their previous employer
  • There have been administrative delays in processing an exit visa for a worker in their home country
  • There are compelling circumstances, such as illness or bereavement

Again, where a worker has already been granted permission to work in the UK, there is no need to inform the Home Office of a delay in starting their employment if one of the above reasons applies.

Other Changes To The Home Office Guidelines For Sponsors

The new guidance also includes the following clarifications:

  • Sponsors are required to provide details about working hours when applying for a defined Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) – the guidance states, “In the ‘Summary of job description’ text box, you must also state the number of hours the successful candidate, or candidates, will work each week. If the working hours will vary, you must give details of what the working pattern will be. This will help us to confirm the stated salary meets the general threshold, going rate and hourly rate requirements. If you fail to give this information, we are likely to reject your application”.
  • For the purposes of the salary stated on a CoS, the Home Office will only take into consideration the “guaranteed basic gross pay” – this means that they will not consider pay that is variable due to fluctuating hours, additional pay for shift allowances, other allowances (e.g. accommodation and cost of living), benefits in kind, one-off payments, and payments relating to immigration costs.

If you would like to discuss any of the recent changes to the sponsorship guidance, our specialist team of immigration Solicitors will be glad to assist you.

Garth Coates is a leading niche immigration firm based in the heart of London, specialising in all forms of personal and business immigration, including visas, global mobility, sponsorship and compliance, settlement, and citizenship. To discuss your UK sponsor licence needs, please contact one of our friendly and knowledgeable immigration Solicitors on Tel: +44 (0)20 7799 1600 or by completing our online contact form

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