Hybrid and remote working new guidance for sponsors
Work location for migrant workers is an important matter that sponsor employers and their HR teams need to take into account when assigning Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) for migrant workers as well as during the entire duration of the migrant’s employment.
Sponsor employers who employ migrant workers on Skilled Worker and Global Business Mobility (GBM) visa routes, must comply with Home Office sponsorship duties and obligations. This relates to record keeping, reporting, complying with all the UK laws, cooperating with the Home Office.
Work location & Work from home – sponsor employer reporting duties
You must tell Home Office if a sponsored worker’s normal work location, as recorded on their Certificate of Sponsorship CoS, changes. This includes changes where:
• the worker is, or will be, working at a different site, branch or office of your organisation, or a different client’s site, not previously declared to Home Office.
• the worker is, or will be, working remotely from home on a permanent or full-time basis (with little or no requirement to physically attend a workplace).
• the worker has moved, or will be moving, to a hybrid working pattern.
Home Office definition of ‘Hybrid working pattern’
In their recently updated sponsor guidance, Home Office provides definition of ‘hybrid working pattern’. It is important to note this definition, understand it, and apply it in practice in your sponsor organisation.
According to the Home Office guidance, “hybrid working pattern” is where the worker will work remotely on a regular and planned basis from their home or another address, such as a work hub space, that is not a client site or an address listed on your licence, in addition to regularly attending one or more of your offices or branches, or a client site.
What sponsor employers do not need to report
Sponsor employers do not need to report day-to-day changes in migrant worker’s work location. For example, if a worker occasionally works at a different branch or site, or from home.
Sponsor employers only need to tell Home Office about changes to their regular working patterns.
How to report changes to a sponsored worker’s normal work location
Changes to sponsor employer’s organisation and relevant changes to sponsored workers must be reported to Home Office via online Sponsor Management System (SMS). Sponsor’s Level 1 user must report any relevant changes to migrant workers work location via SMS.
As a practical point, it is important to ensure that there is always at least one active Level 1 user to be able to make the required updates to Home Office.
Remote working and sponsor duties & compliance
When sponsor employers have migrant workers who work remotely or work on client sites, it is important to implement the relevant HR processes and policies to ensure that Home Office sponsor duties and obligations are complied with. For example, monitoring worker’s attendance.
Home Office may also ask for explanation why migrant worker(s) need to be physically present in the UK if their work can be done remotely. The justification will depend on the individual employer, but may include the need for visiting clients, working in the same time zone as the client, etc.