All of our sponsored workers work from home; should we inform the Home Office?

18 Mar 2024, 08 mins ago

The shift to remote work, accelerated by global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, has prompted many companies to allow their employees to work from home. For sponsored workers, this raises questions about whether the change of work location would affect their immigration status, and whether employers need to notify the Home Office accordingly.

The UK Home Office requires employers to inform them of any changes to a sponsored worker’s normal work location, as outlined in the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). This notification is crucial, especially in scenarios where the worker’s work arrangement deviates from the originally specified terms. Whether your sponsored worker is transitioning to remote work on a permanent or full-time basis, or adopting a hybrid working pattern, it is essential to keep the Home Office informed.

According to the Sponsor Guidance, employers must notify the Home Office if:

  1. The worker is working at a different site, branch, or office of the organisation, or a different client site, not previously declared.
  2. The worker is working remotely from home on a permanent or full-time basis, with little or no requirement to physically attend a workplace.
  3. The worker has moved or will be moving to a hybrid working pattern, defined as working remotely on a regular and planned basis from their home or another address, in addition to regularly attending one or more of the employer’s offices, branches, or client sites.

However, it is important to note that day-to-day changes in work location, such as occasional visits to different branches or working from home sporadically, do not require reporting to the Home Office. The focus is on communicating changes to the worker’s regular working patterns, ensuring compliance with the immigration regulations.

Failure to notify the Home Office of significant changes in a sponsored worker’s work location could result in compliance issues, potentially jeopardising the employer’s sponsorship license and the worker’s immigration status. Therefore, employers must prioritise transparency and adherence to reporting requirements to maintain compliance and avoid legal repercussions.

In the era of remote work, employers must proactively manage their obligations under the immigration system while accommodating the evolving needs of their workforce. Effective communication and collaboration between employers, sponsored workers, and immigration authorities are essential for navigating the complexities of remote work arrangements within the framework of UK immigration law.

In conclusion, if your organisation sponsors foreign workers and they transition to working remotely, it is imperative to inform the Home Office of any significant changes to their work location in accordance with the Sponsor Guidance. By fulfilling this responsibility, you demonstrate your commitment to compliance and uphold the integrity of the immigration system whilst embracing the flexibility of remote work.

How Gherson can assist

Gherson’s Immigration Team are highly experienced in advising on UK visa matters. If you have any questions arising from this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on XFacebookInstagram, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

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