On 24 March 2020, the Home Office published the Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents.
On 14 April 2020, further information was added in the guidance about applicants who can start work or study in the UK before their visa application is decided. The Home Office gave the concession to the Health and Care Workers to start work before their visa application is decided by the Home Office if:
- They’ve been assigned a CoS and they’re applying under the Health and Care visa
- They submitted their application before their current visa expired and the sponsor has been shown evidence of this
- The job is the same as the one listed on their CoS
The above concession was not given to those who are not applying under the Health and Care visa. Applicants outside the care sector must wait until their visa application is granted before starting work unless their current visa allows them to work in that job.
This concession benefited the Health and Social Care providers in the UK who were licensed by the Home Office to sponsor migrant workers from inside and outside the UK. The Sponsor licensee employers were taking the advantage of this concession and filling the workforce shortage gaps soon after assigning Certificate of Sponsorship in favor of the migrant worker and submitting their permission to leave/visa applications with the Home Office, without waiting for the outcome of the visa applications.
What’s the change?
The Home Office has updated the Covid Concession guidance on 24 August 2022, announcing the end of the above concession w.e.f 04 October 2022.
The announcement came when there is already a long delay in decisions on Skilled Worker Applications by the Home Office and UK’s health and care sector is in crisis because of staffing shortages.
What does it mean for the employers?
After 04 October 2022, the health and care workers with a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) assigned after this date cannot begin work until they have received their permission to stay/visa unless their current visa allows them to work in that job.
Consequences of non-compliance?
The Sponsor Licensee employers must abide by the changes coming into operation from 04 October 2022 to stay Home Office compliant. Any departure from the rules may harm their Sponsor License.
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