Sponsor compliance update
issued by Home office
2 April 2020
The government has confirmed it will not take enforcement action against sponsors which continue to sponsor students or employees despite absences due to coronavirus COVID-19.
The announcement issued on 27 March 2020 lifts the requirement on businesses and educational institutions to report student or employee absences due to either:
- their need to isolate; or
- inability to travel due to travel restrictions.
These arrangements will apply until 31 May 2020.
Under the existing UK immigration rules, strict reporting responsibilities apply to those sponsors either educating or employing overseas nationals. A prescribed list of duties must be adhered to including the need to report specific information on each migrant’s non-attendance, non-compliance or disappearance.
However, during the current COVID-19 crisis, the government has decided to withdraw the need for employers to cancel their sponsorship if:
- a student is unable to attend for more than 60 days;
- an employee is absent from work without pay for more than 4 weeks.
It is also not necessary to notify the Home Office if sponsored employees are currently required to work from home due to COVID-19.
Distance learning – not a problem
Whilst there is still a need to update the Home Office if a student has permanently withdrawn from their studies, a sponsor does not need to withdraw sponsorship from new Tier 4 students who are distance learning because they have been unable to travel to the UK.
Those new international students who have not yet applied for a visa but want to start a course by distance learning do not require sponsorship under Tier 4. This is because they are not seeking to travel to the UK at the present time.
Keep in touch with Smith Stone Walters for further immigration updates affecting your business or institution.