On Friday the Government released updates to the current guidance for Tier 2, 4 and 5 sponsors, with additional guidance for NHS staff, holders of Tier 1 Entrepreneur visas and those applying for Global Talent, Start-up or Innovator visas. A brief summary of these updates is as follows:
1. Tier 1 Entrepreneur – employee requirements
You are able to access the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) however any time during which your employees are furloughed on this scheme will not count towards the 12-month period for job creation;
- If you have not been able to employ staff for 12 months in total by the time your visa expires, you will be allowed to temporarily extend your stay to give you time to meet the requirement.
2. Tier 2 workers – Salary reductions
If you cannot pay the salaries of sponsored employees because you have temporarily reduced or ceased trading, you can temporarily reduce the pay of your sponsored employees to 80% of their salary or £2,500 per month, whichever is the lower.
- Any reductions must be part of a company-wide policy to avoid redundancies and all workers must be treated equally. These reductions must be temporary, and the employee’s pay must return to at least previous levels once these arrangements have ended.
3. If you have issued a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) or a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) and an application for a visa has not yet been submitted
An application for a visa can still be submitted even if the start date on the CoS/CAS may have changed. The application will not automatically be refused, however these applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
4. Changes to the number of hours you can work or volunteer
There is no longer a limit on the number of hours you can work or volunteer each week if you work for the NHS as a doctor, nurse of paramedic and you are a:
- Tier 4 student;
- Tier 2 worker and your NHS job is a second job;
- visiting academic or researcher;
- holder of a short-term visa and are permitted to volunteer.
5. If you are a doctor, nurse or paramedic working for the NHS
Your visa will be automatically extended by one year if it is due to expire before 1 October 2020;
- Family members with a visa due to expire before 1 October 2020 will also have their visa extended;
- The extension is free and you will not have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge;
- You do not need to make an application. The Home Office will contact NHS employers to identify staff eligible for this extension;
- You and the sponsor will then be notified of the automatic extension.
6. If you are applying for a Global Talent, Start-up or Innovator visa
If your endorsement from an endorsing body has expired because you have not been able to travel to the UK you may still be eligible for a visa;
- You should still submit an application as planned and the Home Office will consider all applications on a case-by-case basis.
The above is a brief summary of updated Home Office concessions relating to COVID-19. Please refer to Gherson blogs for more information on each category and how this may affect your status in the UK. Alternatively please contact Gherson and our team of immigration experts will be happy to assist you.
Please note that the information in this blog is current at the date and time of posting. The situation regarding policy and guidance based on the COVID-19 pandemic is subject to change at short notice. We shall be monitoring all aspects of UK immigration which may be impacted by the coronavirus closely, so please do keep updated with further blogs and articles which we will be posting on this site.
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 don’t 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.
Consultant and trainee solicitor in our Corporate Team