12/05/2023

New sponsor obligations for reporting hybrid working patterns

The Home Office has recently amended the Sponsor Guidance, requiring sponsors of overseas workers to report their sponsored workers’ usual working locations. These changes must be understood by sponsors and those looking to set up new business in the UK, to ensure compliance. In these FAQs, Beca Hayes and Alex Christen sum up what you need to know.

What changes to a sponsored worker’s normal working location must be reported to the Home Office?

  • If the worker is or will be working at a different site, branch or office of your organization, or a different client’s site not previously declared to the Home Office; or
  • If 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
  • If the worker has moved or will be moving to a hybrid working pattern.

What was the previous position?

During the Covid-19 pandemic, there was no obligation on sponsors to notify the Home Office if a sponsored worker was working from home. This exception has now been removed.

To whom does this apply to?

All sponsors of overseas workers, where a sponsored employee is currently or will be working under a home, hybrid or other remote working arrangement.

What about short changes to work patterns?

Short changes to work patterns are not required to be reported to the Home Office. You only need to report changes to a worker’s regular working patterns.

You do not need to report day-to-day changes in work e.g., if a worker occasionally works at a different branch or site, or from home.

What is a “hybrid working pattern”?

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 organisation’s licence.

How to report hybrid working arrangements?

Historical changes that continued after the pandemic as a permanent working pattern now need to be reported without delay via the sponsor management system.

What happens when sponsoring a new hybrid worker to join your organization?

You must add a comment on hybrid working arrangements to the worker’s certificate of sponsorship before it is assigned to the individual if it has been confirmed at this stage.

You may add it into the work location section in the following format:

  • [company name]/Hybrid Work Location
  • [company address]

If the certificate has already been assigned, the sponsor should add the hybrid working pattern via the sponsor management system as a sponsor note.

Do you need to confirm the exact working locations to the Home Office?

No, the Home Office acknowledges that different workers may be working in locations varying from home, shared workspaces etc.

What is the deadline for reporting changes to a worker’s normal working pattern?

You must report to the Home Office within 10 days of the change. If the hybrid working pattern is already in existence, it is important to report the arrangements as soon as possible.

What if an overseas worker is working completely, or close to completely remote?

Any report that confirms an overseas worker has been sponsored to work in the UK but is working completely or close to completely remote may need to be reasoned, as the Home Office will question why that person needs to be sponsored in the UK in the first place.

To avoid being questioned on whether the worker needs to be sponsored in the UK, it may be necessary to confirm why they need to be working in the UK in the report. For example, if the worker will need to work in the UK on occasions to meet with clients or colleagues, or if there are tax-related reasons behind this. Explaining why it is necessary for the role will help avoid issues at a later stage.

If you have any questions around the amendments to the Sponsor Guidance, get in touch with our team of expert immigration lawyers.