The Home Office released a fact sheet for sponsors on 9 April 2020 which, among other clarifications, confirmed that employers can start employing workers in the UK before their Tier 2 or 5 application is approved. 

This applies to those simply extending their permission to remain in the same job with the same employer,  and importantly also applies to those making change of employment applications, or those switching category to Tier 2 or Tier 5.

This is welcome news for those wishing to switch employer or change role. Until this update, the Home Office had advised that although an applicant’s permission in the UK would continue beyond their expiry date should they submit an in-time application, they would be tied to the restrictions of their existing leave until the application was approved.  For Tier 2 Migrants applying to switch employer (or change to a different role within their employer), this suggested that they could not start their new post until their application was approved.

In order to allow employees to start work before their application has been approved, sponsors must assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for the role the employee is starting in and the employee must submit their application before their current visa expires. 

Sponsor reporting requirements begin from the start of employment, rather than the date the application is approved.  If the Tier 2 applicant’s application is eventually refused, the employer must immediately stop sponsoring the migrant.

We have sought clarification from the Home Office on whether the requirement to carry out right to work checks in the prescribed manner will be relaxed in these circumstances and will provide an update on this shortly. 


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