UK Immigration & Nationality Lawyers

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Coronavirus Update 3 April 2020 – Tier 2 and Tier 5 Sponsors

The government has announced that Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsors can temporarily reduce the pay of sponsored employees to 80% of their salary or £2,500 per month, whichever is the lower.

Any reductions must be part of a company-wide policy to avoid redundancies. It is not quite clear what is meant by the requirement that all employees should be treated equally. We understand that this should not be understood literally and the businesses would keep reasonable discretion to make operational decisions.

These reductions must be temporary, and the employee’s pay must return to at least previous levels once these arrangements have ended.

If you are considering other changes, such as reduction of time or offering the sponsored employee unpaid leave, it would be best to seek expert advice to make sure that the arrangement is compliant with the employer’s duties.

Prospective employees who have been issued a certificate of sponsorship (CoS) but have not applied for a visa may be able to use the CoS out of time. The Home Office has not confirmed the details of the extension and stated that each case would be considered on a case by case basis. This means that some certificates of sponsorship may expire and resident labour market test may have to be carried out again.

If you need your prospective employees to join you in the UK at the earliest opportunity, it is best to make the visa application without delay so that it is considered as soon as the entry clearance offices are operational, and travel is possible.

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