Updated Home Office Guide for Sponsors: Start Dates, Hours, and Salary

The Home Office has made some changes that companies supporting foreign workers should be aware of. The following changes took effect on November 9, 2022. change work start Once you are allowed to enter or reside in the UK, you are now able to work in sponsored employment. There is no need to wait for the start date listed on your Certificate of Sponsor (CoS). If your start date has been moved up after you have been granted permission to enter or reside in the UK, you do not need to report the change via the SMS system.

Considering working hours in a Defined Certificate of Sponsorship

The salary entered on a Defined CoS must genuinely reflect what the worker will be paid. Sponsors of skilled workers must therefore state the number of hours the individual will work each week in the “Summary of job description” text box, in the Defined CoS. 

Concessions for extended absences without pay

A concession has been added to the general information guidance to allow the continued employment of a person who has been absent from work without pay for more than four weeks. 

That is, provided that there is a compelling and compassionate reason for their absence, but where none of the exceptions (for example, statutory maternity or sick leave) apply. The four weeks do not have to be consecutive. For skilled workers, the rule is four weeks in any calendar year.

Including allowances in a salary

Only guaranteed basic gross pay should be included in the salary section of the CoS.

Other allowances, pay or benefits (even if guaranteed) will no longer be considered when assessing a worker’s level of pay. For example, pensions, shift allowances, accommodation, or cost of living allowances should not be included in the gross salary on the certificate of sponsorship.

Summing up the above-described updates, it is important to highlight that some of the updates provide a welcome break from extensive SMS reporting and are perhaps a reflection of an overwhelmed Home Office team, apparently inundated with new sponsor licence applications, as well as their other duties. 

However, sponsors should continue to read the Home Office guidelines and regularly refer to them correctly when applying for sponsorship certificates for their hired employees.

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