A step closer to modern working?

The Home Office recently updated the ‘reporting duties’ section of its guidance for sponsor licence holders. In particular, the Home Office has added new detail to the ‘change of work location’ section and clarified (to some extent) when a report needs to be made where a sponsored worker undertakes their work either remotely or through a hybrid working pattern.

When assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to a sponsored worker, their primary work address must be included along with any other regular work address that the sponsored worker may work from. If the primary work address changes, the sponsoring organisation needs to report this to the Home Office within 10 working days of the change taking place.

During the pandemic, the Home Office confirmed to sponsor licence holders that they were not obliged to report to the Home Office when a sponsored worker worked from home due to COVID-19. Before the recent update to the guidance, there was lack of clarity from the Home Office as to whether permanent hybrid working patterns or remote working in place post-pandemic needed to be reported. The revised guidance provides some clarity:

  • Sponsor licence holders must inform the Home Office if their sponsored worker’s normal work location (as set out on their CoS) changes. This includes where:
    • the sponsored worker is, or will be, working at a different site, branch or office of the sponsoring organisation, or a different client’s site, not previously declared to the Home Office;
    • the sponsored worker is, or will be, working remotely from home on a permanent or full-time basis (with little or no requirement to physically attend a workplace);
    • the sponsored worker has moved, or will be moving, to a hybrid working pattern.

The guidance goes on to define a ‘hybrid working pattern’ as a pattern where the sponsored worker works remotely on a regular and planned basis from their home or another address, that is not a client site or an address listed on the sponsoring organisation’s licence, in addition to regularly attending one or more of the sponsoring organisation’s offices or branches, or a client site.

The guidance also clarifies that the sponsoring organisation does not need to report day-to-day changes in work location such as where the sponsored worker occasionally works at a different branch or site, or from home.

Is this update a way for the Home Office to scrutinise whether a sponsored worker should really be in the UK, if they actually do not need to be physically present to do their job?

On one hand, it potentially could be, especially if a sponsoring organisation reports that a sponsored worker is working permanently from home on a full-time basis with little or no requirement to physically attend a workplace. The Home Office could question whether this sponsored worker really needs to be in the UK to carry out the role given they do not have to attend the sponsoring organisation’s offices or clients. However, if the Home Office does take this approach, it could cause wider employment law issues (alongside data protection, health and safety and tax issues) for the organisation if the worker was to continue working remotely but from outside the UK.

On the other hand, updated guidance doesn’t provide any insight as to the potential consequences of reporting that a sponsored worker is working permanently from home which could suggest that the Home Office appreciates the post-pandemic working patterns adopted by many businesses and its recent updates to the guidance are purely to bring the guidance in line with the modern way of working in the UK.


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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