Immigration Monthly Update – May 2023
25 May 2023
Updated reporting requirements for hybrid-working/remote working patterns for sponsored workers
The Home Office has updated its policy guidance for sponsors in relation to flexible working or hybrid working pattern policies that apply to sponsored workers.
Previously, there was no requirement for sponsors to notify the Home Office about sponsored workers’ working-from-home arrangements.
However, the updated guidance documentation now includes additional obligations on the sponsor to report any of the following.
- Working at a different site, branch or office; or
- Working remotely from home on a permanent or full-time basis (with little or no requirement to attend a workplace); or
- If the worker has moved, or will be moving to, a hybrid working pattern.
Therefore, companies with a sponsorship licence should review the individuals they are sponsoring and report any changes to employees’ working locations as appropriate. In line with the Home Office’s current guidance, this should be reported to the Home Office via the Sponsorship Management System within ten working days of the change.
Nevertheless, following this change in the guidance document, a further communication has been sent out via email advising that the individual worker reporting on the SMS is not going to be necessary and will not be expected by the Home Office enforcement teams conducting audits. The email indicates that an internal company awareness of hybrid work arrangements is sufficient – we await an update to the published guidance.
Global Talent Visa – Founders Forum Group acquires Tech Nation
Tech Nation, a government-backed endorsing body for the Global Talent Visa, which has aided the UK scaleup tech network since 2014, has announced that it has now become part of the Founders Forum Group (effective from 25 April 2023), which is a global community and group of businesses supporting entrepreneurs throughout their business journey.
Tech Nation announced its closure in March after it stopped receiving government funding. This acquisition marks a positive step for the tech startup industry. Founders Forum will continue to pursue the mission of Tech Nation to empower tech entrepreneurs, scale and transform startups and provide a platform for UK tech founders.
If you are thinking of applying for this type of visa soon, Tech Nation will continue to process Global Talent Visas on behalf of the Home Office. This visa route remains open for applications until a new endorsing body is in place.
Existing visa holders with endorsement from Tech Nation remain unimpacted.
UKVI Twitter Profile
The UKVI has launched a Twitter profile to assist visa applicants with their applications, sharing information on service issues or general updates. However, the account will not answer individual queries, and you should not share personal details with the profile.
The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS)
The EU has announced the planned roll-out of the ETIAS scheme (European Travel Information and Authorisation System), following closely in the footsteps of the UK’s equivalent ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation). Initially, the planned roll-out was for November 2023, but this is now looking closer to 2024.
The ETIAS will grant travel authorisation to non-EU nationals who do not need visas to travel into the Schengen Area. Similar to the ETA, the ETIAS will be an online process and will cost around seven euros, much like the US and Canadian versions of the product. Once registered for an ETIAS, it will be valid for three years or until your passport expiry date (whichever is first).
The UK’s ETA registration scheme (that requires all visitors to the UK that don’t have a visit visa to register prior to travel to the UK) is continuing with its roll-out, with Qatar nationals the first to be required to register from 25 October 2023, with enforcement from 15 November 2023. The Home Office has not yet published a timetable for the full implementation of the scheme, so there is no confirmed date for US/Australian/New Zealand/Canadian or EU nationals to register. However. this is expected to be in 2024.
Removal of restriction of dependent family members to work as doctors or dentists in training
The Home Office has confirmed that for points-based system dependent visa holders, there is no longer a restriction to prevent them from working as a doctor or dentist in training. This change applies only to those who submitted their visa application after 1 December 2020.
Anyone holding a visa from an application made before this date would have to submit a new application to get the restriction removed. The good news for healthcare providers is this enables recruitment without providing direct sponsorship.
The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at May 2023.