Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 27 March 2020)

Sponsor duties under Tiers 2, 4 and 5 of the Points Based System

There is now brief Home Office coronavirus guidance for organisations who sponsor overseas workers or students under Tiers 2, 4 and 5 of the Points Based System.

It promises:

“We will not take enforcement action against sponsors who continue to sponsor students or employees despite absences due to coronavirus”.

Sponsors are not currently required to report any absences from students or employees sponsored under Tier 2, Tier 4, or Tier 5, where those absences have been the result of the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Sponsors will also not be required to withdraw sponsorship for affected students who have been unable to attend for more than 60 days or for employees who have exceeded four weeks of absence without pay.

Tier 4 student can now do distance learning, although if they quit the course altogether this must be reported as usual.

Similarly, Tier 2 and 5 sponsors do not need update the Home Office if workers are now working from home provided that the switch to home working is because of the pandemic.

Immigration tribunal hearings

HM Courts and Tribunals Service is now realising a daily operational update, which confirms that “personal attendance at hearings in the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) have been suspended”. It has also released a list of buildings which will remain open during the pandemic, but only for “hearings that cannot be heard by video or telephone and which cannot be delayed”. Most tribunal action for the foreseeable future will be conducted remotely.

Posted on Mar 27, 2020.

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