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Can work start date be delayed for Skilled Worker visa – 28 days rule

The work start date for Skilled Worker visa is an important matter to consider when applying for and assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship to a migrant worker. You need to choose a realistic date on which a skilled worker is expected to start work. Sponsor employer must therefore consider all the circumstances, including the notice period with previous employer and relocation timings if the worker is applying for their visa from abroad, when choosing the date.

Until when the work start date can be changed on Certificate of Sponsorship

Certificate of Sponsorship COS is valid for 3 months which means that the worker to whom it was assigned must apply for Skilled Worker visa within the 3 months validity. The date of COS validity will be stated on the assigned COS. Once the expiry date passed the COS can no longer be used for Skilled Worker visa application and a new COS will need to be assigned.

The work start date must be inserted in the COS and it has to be the realistic date the worker is expected to commence employment in the UK. The start date can be changed by adding a sponsor note to the COS until the COS is used by the Home Office when they assess Skilled Worker visa application. However, when amending the date, please bear in mind that the worker has to arrive and start work in the UK no later than 3 months from the date their visa application was submitted.

Can work start date be delayed after Skilled Worker visa is granted

Once the Skilled Worker visa is granted, the work start date must not be delayed by more than 28 days from whichever is the latest of:

• the start date recorded on the worker’s CoS (including any amendment to that date you have told us about via SMS while the worker was awaiting a decision on their application)

• the date the worker’s entry clearance (visa) becomes valid

• the date the worker is granted permission to enter or permission to stay

What happens if work start date is delayed for more than 28 days for Skilled Worker

If the work start date is delayed by more than 28 days, the sponsor employer must normally stop sponsoring the worker and inform the Home Office via Sponsor Management System (SMS) account accordingly. If such a situation arises we recommend to seek legal advice.

Are there any exceptions to the delay for work start date for Skilled Worker

The only exception that Home Office provides in their guidance is where the worker is required to work out a contractual notice period with their previous employer (and their conditions of stay allow them to do this). Unfortunately, according to Home Office, this exception only applies to in country change of employment application (i.e. when the skilled worker is changing sponsor employers). The change must be notified by sponsor via Sponsor Management System (SMS) account.

What happens to the Skilled Worker visa – grounds for refusal

If the work start date for the job, as recorded in the Certificate of Sponsorship, is delayed by more than 28 days, the skilled worker’s visa may be cancelled.

Relevant law:

2 Thoughts to “work start delay skilled worker”

  1. […] June 2022 we published an article about the troublesome ‘28 days rule’ requiring migrant Skilled Workers to start work in the UK […]

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