Home Office requests salary
evidence for sponsored
28 July 2021
The Sponsor Assurance and Investigations Team at the Home Office has recently begun contacting sponsors to request digital copies of payslips for individual sponsored workers. As part of UKVI’s aim to ‘modernise, improve and broaden’ how it delivers assurance, this new exercise is being undertaken to validate the salaries of sponsored workers.
The Home Office communications seen by Smith Stone Walters have been sent via email to licensed sponsors, and reminds recipients of their responsibilities with regards to monitoring and reporting on their sponsored migrant workers. Sponsors are reminded that their broad responsibilities are to:
- Monitor sponsored workers’ immigration documents and their entitlement to work
- Ensure that sponsored workers are undertaking the roles for which they were granted permission to be in the UK
- Adhere to the sponsorship duties set out in the Workers and Temporary Workers: Guidance for Sponsors
- Retain relevant documents as specified in Appendix D of the guidance.
The compliance exercise asks employers to provide the last three months’ payslips for named sponsored workers within their organisation. Sponsors are asked to return digital copies of the payslips by email, with a deadline of seven days from the date on which the request was sent.
What are the salary rules for sponsored workers?
Under the Immigration Rules, sponsors must be able to demonstrate to the Home Office that they can offer ‘genuine employment’ that meets the skill and salary requirements of the routes in which they are licensed to sponsor migrants.
Under the Skilled Worker route, applicants must be paid at least the minimum salary of £20,480, or the ‘going rate’ (or, in some cases, a proportion of the going rate) for the occupation, whichever is higher. This is a lower salary threshold compared to the previous Tier 2 (General) threshold, which required a minimum salary of £30,000 per annum.
The salary stated on the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) should include only guaranteed basic gross pay, before income tax and including employee pension and national insurance contributions. The figure should not include any other allowances, pay or benefits, even if they are guaranteed.
It is also important to note that the Home Office will only take into account salary for up to a maximum of 48 hours per week, even if the employee works more hours than this.
How can sponsors ensure ongoing compliance with salary requirements?
The Home Office may conduct checks such as the new salary validation exercise at any time, therefore sponsors should be aware of their obligations to ensure ongoing compliance.
Sponsors have a duty to report any significant changes to their sponsored workers’ circumstances to the Home Office. Any decrease to a sponsored worker’s salary should be reported via your Sponsorship Management System (SMS) within ten working days of the change taking place.
In addition to compliance visits, the Home Office undertakes regular checks with HMRC to ensure sponsors are paying at least the salary stated on the CoS, or in any other notification of a change of salary.
You must also ensure you keep accurate records relating to salary on file for each worker you are sponsoring, including:
- Copies of sponsored workers’ payslips clearly showing the employee’s name, National Insurance number, tax code and any allowances or deductions made
- Account records showing the transfer of each salary payment into the named sponsored worker’s bank account or pre-paid card
- A copy of any employment contract between the sponsor and the worker
- Evidence of the value of any allowances made as part of the sponsored worker’s salary package, unless these are clearly shown in the employment contract or payslips.
Support with maintaining sponsor compliance
If you have any questions about Skilled Worker salary, or any other area of sponsor compliance, Smith Stone Walters can help.
Our team of immigration experts can offer up-to-date advice and practical support to ensure your business is fulfilling its legal obligations and is prepared for any Home Office compliance visit.
To speak to a member of the team, please contact us today.