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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advice for Tier 2, 4 and 5 Sponsors

03 April 2020 Grace McGill Blog

This is advice for Tier 2, 4 and 5 visa sponsors in the UK who are sponsoring those affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) updated as at 3rd April 2020.

If your student or employee is absent

We will not take enforcement action against sponsors who continue to sponsor students or employees despite absences due to coronavirus.

You do not need to report student or employee absences related to coronavirus.

This can include absences due to illness, their need to isolate or inability to travel due to travel restrictions.

You do not need to withdraw sponsorship if because of coronavirus:

  • a student is unable to attend for more than 60 days
  • an employee is absent from work without pay for more than 4 weeks

We will keep this under review.

If you’re sponsoring a student who is distance learning

You can continue to sponsor existing Tier 4 students who are continuing their studies through distance learning, whether they are in the UK or another country.

If a student has permanently withdrawn from their studies or deferred their studies for reasons unrelated to coronavirus, you must report this as usual.

You do not need to withdraw sponsorship for new students who have been issued a Tier 4 visa but are distance learning because they have been unable to travel to the UK.

New international students who have not yet applied for a visa but want to start a course by distance learning do not require sponsorship under Tier 4. This is because they do not need to travel to the UK.

You do not need to tell the Home Office when students have moved to distance learning.

These arrangements will apply until 31 May 2020, when they will be reviewed.

If you’re sponsoring employees who are working from home

You do not have to notify us if you’re sponsoring employees who are working from home due to coronavirus.

Other changes to their working arrangements must still be reported as usual.

If you cannot pay the salaries of sponsored employees because you’ve 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 in which all workers are treated the same.

These reductions must be temporary, and the employee’s pay must return to at least previous levels once these arrangements have ended.

If you have issued a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) or a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) and the sponsored employee or student has not yet applied for a visa

The employee or student will still be able to apply for a visa.

The start date for the course or employment stated on the CoS or CAS may have changed. We will not automatically refuse such cases.

For example, we may accept a CoS or CAS if they have become invalid because the employee or student was unable to travel as a result of coronavirus. We will consider this on a case by case basis.

Source : https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-tier-2-4-and-5-sponsors?utm_source=ebf57b10-5c83-4d25-98f9-5f88295bf9c9&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

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