Do Sponsors Need to Report Hybrid Working?
Recent changes in Home Office policy have created some confusion for sponsors over whether they need to report when their sponsored migrant workers are engaging in hybrid working.
Organisations with sponsor licences must report to the Home Office, using the Sponsorship Management System, regarding various changes in circumstances to both the organisation itself and its sponsored migrant workers. One of the changes in circumstances which must be reported on is where a migrant worker’s normal place of work changes – for example, where they are moved to a different office or site.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Home Office clarified that there was no obligation on sponsors to report a change in place of work for a sponsored worker who was working from home. The logic behind this exception being that, at the time, the vast majority of office workers were working from home; requiring sponsors to report on this would have been overly burdensome.
However, the Home Office recently updated the Sponsor Guidance to expressly require sponsors to submit a report where a sponsored worker moves to a hybrid working pattern as part of a more permanent working arrangement. “Hybrid working pattern” is defined in the Guidance as a pattern “where the worker will work remotely on a regular and planned basis from their home or another address, such as a work hub space, that is not a client site or an address listed on your licence, in addition to regularly attending one or more of your offices or branches, or a client site”.
The Home Office has now u-turned on this change in policy, reverting to their original position – sponsors still won’t have to report when migrant workers begin hybrid working. This is likely due to a significant number of hybrid working reports coming in on the Sponsorship Management System, alerting the Home Office to the prevalence of hybrid working arrangements in a post-pandemic UK, and the resulting administrative costs that British businesses would incur in having to report all of these arrangements for their migrant workers.
However, we would still recommend that sponsors keep comprehensive internal records of their workers’ working patterns, to reassure the Home Office in the event of an impromptu audit.
If you have any questions regarding sponsor licences or recruiting migrant workers, please get in touch at [email protected]