During the current situation with COVID-19 guidance around employee and employer sponsorship schemes are in a constant state of flux.
The guidance has been updated yet again. The latest changes are as followed:
Completing a visa application in the UK
- UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) and Service and Support Centres (SSCs) are temporarily closed because of coronavirus (COVID-19). An individual’s immigration status will not be negatively affected as a result of them not being able to attend an appointment.
- If an individual has already made an appointment to attend a UKVCAS service point, or a Service and Support Centre (SSC), they’ll be contacted and told what to do next. Their immigration status will not be negatively affected as a result of them not being able to attend an appointment.
- Once an applicant has submitted their application online, the terms of their leave will remain the same as they were at the point of application. Applicants will be in the UK lawfully and no-one will be subject to immigration action if they are unable to attend a biometric appointment or if there are delays in processing their application.
Sponsoring an employee or student who is waiting for a decision on an application
Students (Tier 4)
Sponsors may allow students to start their studies before their visa application has been decided if:
- sponsors are a Tier 4 sponsor (other than Tier 4 Legacy Sponsors)
- sponsors have assigned the student a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
- the student submitted their application before their current visa expired and has shown their sponsor evidence of this
- the course they start is the same as the one listed on their CAS
- the student has a valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if required
A sponsor’s reporting responsibilities start from the date that sponsors issue the CAS, not from the date that their application is granted.
If the student’s application is eventually rejected as invalid or refused sponsors must terminate the student’s studies.
Workers (Tier 2 and 5)
Sponsors may allow employees to start work before their visa application has been decided if:
- sponsors have assigned them a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)
- the employee submitted their visa application before their current visa expired
- the role they are employed in is the same as the one on their CoS
Sponsors reporting responsibilities for an employee start from the date the sponsor have assigned them a CoS, not from the date that their application is granted.
Sponsors will not be able to report information to the Home Office using the sponsor management system. Sponsors must however ensure that they record and maintain all the relevant information set out in the sponsor guidance on their own systems. Any changes that will impact the eventual consideration of the migrant’s visa application should be updated on the Certificate of Sponsorship, as normal.
If the employee’s application is eventually rejected as invalid or refused, sponsors must terminate their employment.
Doctors, nurses or paramedics working or volunteering in the NHS
- An individual’s visa will be automatically extended by one year if it is due to expire before 1 October 2020. Family members with a visa due to expire before 1 October 2020 will also have their visa extended.
- The extension is free and they will not have to pay the immigration health surcharge.
- Individuals do not need to apply. We will contact NHS employers to identify staff eligible for this extension. We will notify the individual and their employer if they have received an automatic extension.
- There is no longer a limit on the number of hours an individual can work or volunteer each week if they work for the NHS as a doctor, nurse or paramedic and they are a:
- Tier 4 student
- Tier 2 worker and their NHS job is a second job
- visiting academic researcher
- holder of a short-term visa and are permitted to volunteer
- If an individual is a pre-registration nurse currently in the UK, the deadline for them to sit the Occupational Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) has been extended to 31 December 2020
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