The outbreak of Covid-19, lockdowns and quarantine requirements has meant that several workers have relocated, temporarily or permanently, outside the UK. The ‘new normal’ of working remotely means employees are also able to effectively carry out their roles from anywhere (time zone permitting).
One of the ongoing requirements to being a licensed sponsor is that the Authorising Officer, who is ultimately responsible for the licence, and all Key Personnel such as Level 1 users, must be based permanently in the UK for the duration of the period that they fill the role.
With more personnel carrying out their roles remotely from overseas, sponsors may find that their Authorising Officer is no longer based in the UK. It is imperative that in these circumstances a new UK based Authorising Officer is appointed on the licence, even if only to temporarily fill the role. In the event of a Home Office audit (which can be announced or unannounced) the auditor will expect to discuss the licence with the Authorising Officer. If the Authorising Officer is no longer based in the UK, this is a breach of sponsor duties and can lead to action being taken against the sponsor, putting the business’s ability to sponsor workers from outside the UK in jeopardy.
We recommend businesses review the status of their Key Personnel and seek advice in the event that any have relocated overseas.