Out-Law News 2 min. read

Guidance issued on UK immigration reporting duties for hybrid workers

Employers that sponsor foreign workers to work in the UK need to be prepared to report changes to where those workers work to the UK authorities within 10 working days, an immigration expert has said.

Shara Pledger of Pinsent Masons was commenting after UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), which sits within the Home Office, published a raft of updated guidance for sponsors – including in relation to reporting duties.

For the first time, specific government guidance on how to update details for hybrid and home workers has been issued, she said.

Employers must notify UKVI if a sponsored worker’s normal work location, as recorded on their certificate of sponsorship, changes. The new guidance makes clear that the reporting duty will be triggered where 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)” or they have “moved, or will be moving, to a hybrid working pattern”.

The reporting duty will also apply 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 [UKVI]”.

‘Hybrid working pattern’ is defined in the guidance as 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”.

UKVI said “day-to-day changes in work location (for example, if a worker occasionally works at a different branch or site, or from home)” do not need to be reported, only changes to the worker’s “regular working patterns”.

Pledger said: “In light of the new guidance, we recommend that sponsors ensure that all sponsored workers have up to date Home Office records as to their regular work locations. If these are premises which sponsors own or occupy with control, they should be added to the sponsor licence as branches. If these are client sites, home addresses, or a work hub space over which sponsors have no control, adding a sponsor note is sufficient. There is no requirement to provide detailed lists of home addresses for workers.”

Pledger said sponsors should update their records as soon as they can and advised reporting changes to work location within 10 working days.

“In many cases hybrid or home working began in line with the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, and we do not anticipate compliance action from UKVI in respect of any worker who is currently subject to a home or hybrid pattern but for whom sponsors have not yet reported,” she said. “However, it is prudent for sponsors to take steps now to update any records where needed, and to ensure that any new agreed changes to work location are reported within 10 working days of occurrence.”

Pledger also reminded sponsors that, where sponsored workers work fully or predominantly from home, there remains a need for the worker to be based in the UK, to justify their sponsorship. She recommended sponsors keep a record of their reasons for sponsorship on the personnel file – “these might include a requirement to attend premises on a semi-regular basis, visit clients or customers in the UK, and adhere to UK working patters and practices, and there may be data protection issues if a worker was based outside the UK,” Pledger said.

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