Update for Sponsors (part 2): what has changed and what do we need to know?

In the first part of our summary of the recent changes to the sponsor guidance, we looked at the changes relating to the early parts of sponsorship.  In this part, we look at the remaining changes, including changes to salary levels and NMC registration for nurses. 

1. Effect of increase to going rate during period of sponsorship 

Where the going rate for an occupation code increases whilst a worker is sponsored, it does not affect them for the duration of their current permission.  The updated rate will only apply to:

  • any applications for entry clearance or leave to remain made on or after the date the change comes into effect; 
  • new recruits; and
  • existing workers applying for an extension of leave or settlement (unless specific transitional arrangements apply). 

2. Reduction in salary – ill-health

The updated guidance confirms a welcome change in that a new application is not required where the reduction in salary coincides with a temporary reduction in the worker’s hours, or a phased return to work, for individual health reasons, provided:

  • This is supported by an Occupational Health assessment;
  • The reduction does not result in the hourly rate falling below any hourly rate requirement which applied when the worker obtained their most recent grant of permission.  For example, if at the time of application, the individual relied on a tradeable points option which allowed a minimum hourly salary of £10.10 per hour, they must be paid at least this amount for the hours that they actually work (e.g. a good example would be a phased return where the individual may be working less hours and building up to coming back full time). When their reduced hours are annualised into a yearly salary, this salary does not have to meet the annual salary requirement.

3. Timeframe for achieving NMC registration

When sponsoring overseas trained nurses being sponsored under occupation code 2231 or overseas trained midwives being sponsored under occupation 2232, sponsors must ensure that the candidates have completed, or will complete, the appropriate steps to achieve registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council within eight months.  They can be paid less than the £20,480 minimum during this period.

The registration must be completed within eight months of either:

  • The start date on their Certificate of Sponsorship, if this is their first application for permission on the Skilled Worker route as a pre-registration nurse or midwife; or
  • The start date of their previous employment, if they are applying for an extension to continue working as a pre-registration nurse or midwife, in cases where they move employer within the first eight months. 

If the individual fails to achieve NMC registration in that timeframe, sponsorship must be terminated.

You must not sponsor a worker as a nurse or midwife if they have previously been sponsored by a different sponsor and have failed to achieve full registration within the eight month timeframe.

It is important that sponsors remain up to date with the obligations on them in terms of reporting and record keeping so that they remain compliant with their sponsor duties as failure to do so could result in suspension or revocation of the sponsor licence.   Some of the recent changes reduce the reporting duties and provide helpful clarification to areas that were unclear, such as the timings of NMC registration.  The point relating to salary reductions due to a phased return to work caused by ill health is well overdue and will be welcomed by employers of sponsored workers. 


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



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