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The UK Home Office has updated its guidance with a few notable changes for employers regarding start dates, sponsor reporting, the immigration skills charge, and the non-visa national list. New COVID-19 testing requirements for Chinese nationals entering the United Kingdom have also been imposed.
In November 2022 the Home Office updated its Sponsor Guidance for licenced employers of Worker and Temporary Worker migrants. Changes in relation to reporting obligations and migrant start dates will be of particular interest to employers.
In relation to start dates, individuals may now commence work in their sponsored employment as soon as they are granted permission to enter or stay in the United Kingdom, even if this is before the start date recorded on their certificate of sponsorship. Employers are no longer required to file a report on the certificate of sponsorship if the employee’s start date is earlier than the date on the certificate of sponsorship or if the start date is delayed by no more than 28 days.
Individuals are still ordinarily required to commence their sponsored work within 28 days of the start date recorded on their certificate of sponsorship (or from 28 days from the date of issuance of their permission, if this is later). However, a new concession has been introduced allowing employers to continue to sponsor a migrant whose start date is delayed by more than 28 days where there is an acceptable reason for the delay.
Examples of acceptable reasons for a delay include the following:
The above list is non-exhaustive. The Home Office will assess each case on its own merits.
Where an employer continues to sponsor a migrant worker whose start date has been delayed by more than 28 days, the Home Office retains the right to cancel the individual’s permission if it does not consider the reason provided to be acceptable. Employers should seek advice if they wish to continue sponsoring individuals in these circumstances.

Immigration Skills Charge Update
For certificates of sponsorship assigned on or after 1 January 2023, a new exemption to paying the immigration skills charge has been introduced for employers using the Global Business Mobility: Senior or Specialist Worker (formally Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer) route.
Employers will be able to benefit from this exemption where the individual they are sponsoring is an EU national or Latvian non-citizen who has been assigned to the United Kingdom by a business established in the European Union and which is part of the same sponsor group as the UK sponsor (i.e., a business linked by sharing common ownership or control or by a joint venture) for assignment of no more than 36 months.
It should be noted that this exemption is available to EU nationals only, and does not include nationals of European Economic Area countries; namely, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland.
This provides a saving of up to £1,000 per year for large organisations or £364 per year for small or charitable organisations. The exemption applies for sponsorship for a period of no more than three years.
Employers that wish to take advantage of this exemption should seek advice regarding adding their European entities to their UK sponsorship licence.

In November 2022, the Home Office added Colombia, Guyana, and Peru to the non-visa national list. This means that nationals of these countries no longer require a visa to visit the UK for tourism or business purposes.

From 5 January 2023 travellers from China, with the exception of children aged 11 and under, will be required to take a COVID-19 test no more than two days before they travel to England regardless of whether England is their final destination or if they are just transiting through the country. Individuals will be required to present their original PCR or lateral flow test results in English, French, or Spanish.
If you have any questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this LawFlash, please contact any of the following:
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