New Sponsor Duties For Reporting Hybrid Working

Following the Covid-19 outbreak, hybrid and remote working have increasingly become the norm in the UK. As a result, the Home Office has revised Part 3 of the Sponsor Guidance to require sponsors of foreign employees to disclose the locations of their sponsored workers’ typical working hours.

Following the Covid-19 outbreak, hybrid and remote working have increasingly become the norm in the UK. As a result, the Home Office has revised Part 3 of the Sponsor Guidance to require sponsors of foreign employees to disclose the locations of their sponsored workers’ typical working hours.

The Home Office stated during the epidemic that sponsors were under no obligation to be informed if a sponsored employee was working from home. This exemption has been eliminated. In cases when a worker has relocated or will relocate to a hybrid working pattern as a more long-term working arrangement, the new guidance specifies a reporting need. Short-term shifts in work schedules don’t need to be disclosed.

The change is available starting with C1.19:

You must tell us if a sponsored worker’s normal work location (as recorded on their CoS) changes. This includes 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 us
  • 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)
  • the worker has moved, or will be moving, to a hybrid working pattern

A “hybrid working pattern” is 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, Page 13 of 71 Sponsor guidance Part 3: Sponsor duties and compliance – version 03/23 in addition to regularly attending one or more of your offices or branches, or a client site.

You do not need to report day-to-day changes in work location (for example, if a worker occasionally works at a different branch or site, or from home). You need only tell us about changes to their regular working patterns.

In addition to the duties to keep the Home Office informed about a sponsored worker’s regular attendance at one or more office/branch or client sites as indicated on their certificate of sponsorship, there is an additional reporting requirement for those who support overseas workers. The need that sponsors maintain current information about a sponsored worker’s home address is still in place. Any change in address must be kept “on file” by the sponsor but need not be included in the new hybrid working report and submitted to the Home Office.

How To Disclose Hybrid Work Arrangements

Three different types of reports could be sent to the Home Office. It is now necessary to report immediately on historical alterations that persisted after the epidemic as a consistent pattern of operation. Those who sponsor foreign workers must compile data on all of their sponsored employees and/or their numerous hybrid working arrangements. Nevertheless, the quantity and kind of hybrid working patterns in use will affect how this data is submitted to the Home Office.

For a medium to large organisation, for instance, documenting hybrid working patterns for each sponsored employee separately may become an impractical effort to complete in a reasonably short amount of time. If the organisation has standard or general hybrid working practises, a report could be issued at the organisational level defining the policies, describing the class of people they apply to, and confirming whether any of those individuals are sponsored employees.

If hybrid working arrangements have been confirmed at this point, they should be noted on the certificate of sponsorship before it is given to the person who is being sponsored to join the company. For instance, the following could be added to the job location section:

[company name]/Hybrid Work

Location: [company address]

If a sponsor has a single hybrid working policy, it may be possible to apply this general policy to all certificates of sponsorship for that sponsor. Or perhaps a variety of modifications will be required when various workers start to implement various hybrid working policies.

Some people work from their homes, shared workspaces in urban areas, libraries, coffee shops, or while on the road. There is no need to clarify precise locations with the Home Office because it is fair to anticipate that the remote working location will change.

Finally, as with other sponsor reporting requirements, the Home Office must be notified of any future changes to the sponsored worker’s regular work schedule within ten days of the change. This could occur when employees temporarily switch from an office-based work pattern to a hybrid or entirely remote one. Short-term and transient alterations might not require reporting.

Any confirmation of an overseas worker who has been sponsored to work in the UK but who is working entirely or nearly entirely remotely may require justification. It might be vital to state in the report why the worker needs to be working in the UK, whether it’s for regulatory, tax, or other reasons, to avoid queries about why they required to be sponsored to come to the UK if they are working remotely.

For completeness’ sake, it might be worth checking that residential address information is up to date when confirming hybrid working patterns with sponsored workers. It might also be worthwhile reminding staff members where they can report a change of address to the Home Office themselves as this is part of their own visa obligations.

This update won’t prove to be substantially more difficult on sponsors until historical reports on current employees have been made. Given that most sponsors have transitioned to remote working standards since the pandemic, the update may also give sponsors a great opportunity to audit and evaluate their hybrid working rules generally.

Need Help?

Here at Law Lane Solicitors, we have the experience and expertise to advise you on Business Immigration and Public Law. By seeking expert advice from our specialists, we can safeguard your Sponsorship License and to ensure you comply with your obligations. If you would like to speak to one of our specialists, then please call us on 0207 870 4870 today.

Written by:

Afaque Solangi

Trainee Solicitor