Recently we hosted a forum for HR professionals involved in sponsoring workers.
These were the most common queries:
When can a sponsored employee legally start working for an employer?
Sponsors may allow employees to start work before their biometric residence permit application (BRP) application has been decided if:
- A new Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) has been assigned and used by the employee and
- The role they are employed in is the same as the one on their CoS
A Certificate of Sponsorship is considered used when the employee has submitted their BRP application before the expiry of their current visa/BRP.
How do I prove the employee’s eligibility to work?
During the pandemic you can ask the employee to provide via email a scanned copy or a photo of their original documents, such as their passport and both sides of their BRP card.
You should then arrange a video call and ask them to hold up the original documents to the camera and check them against the digital copy of the documents. Record the date you made to check and mark it as “adjusted check undertaken on x date due to Covid-19”. If the worker has a current BRP card you can use the online right to work checking service while doing a video call, but the applicant must give you permission to view their details.
After the Covid-19 measures end you should make a retrospective check of the original documents within 8 weeks of the coronavirus measures ending.
What if the employee does not have an appointment to submit their biometric data?
An employee’s immigration status in the UK will not change as a result of them not being able to attend an appointment as long as they made an ‘in-time’ application.
The Home Office will take several weeks to decide an application for an extension of stay. For a person who has made an in-time application (i.e. before their leave ran out), this delay will usually result in their leave expiring after they have made the application, but before they receive the Home Office’s decision on it.
Where the person’s leave ends before the Home Office has decided the application, section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 automatically extends that leave until the application is either decided or withdrawn. This way the person does not become an overstayer.
Can the employee travel outside the UK whilst their application is being decided?
If a person travels outside the UK whilst their application is pending decision from the Home Office, the application will be considered withdrawn and the person will not be allowed back in the UK for that purpose.
What happens if the application is rejected as invalid or refused by the Home Office?
The employee can continue to work for the sponsor in certain circumstances:
- when an invalid application is rectified within 10 business days by providing the information requested to the Home Office
- when an administrative review is requested within 14 days from the refusal of the application or
- a fresh application is submitted before the expiry of the employee’s current leave.
If in doubt the sponsor can use the online right to work checking service or seek legal advice.