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Recent updates to sponsor guidance: reporting hybrid and remote working

On 5 March 2024, the Home Office updated its sponsor guidance note - Workers and Temporary Workers Guidance for Sponsors Part 3: Sponsor Duties and Compliance.

Details of the main changes to sponsor duties are set out below: 

Hybrid and remote working 

The Home Office has recognised that many businesses now adopt hybrid working arrangements where employees work partly at home and partly in the office. The updated guidance helpfully provides that sponsors “no longer need to tell [the Home Office] if a sponsored worker is moving to a hybrid working pattern”.

However, sponsors “must continue to report any changes to [the sponsored worker’s] main office work location, or of any new client sites, if applicable, and maintain suitable records of [their] sponsored workers’ working patterns.” 

The guidance clarifies that sponsors only need to inform the Home Office of these changes where there is a change to the individual’s regular working pattern, rather than having to notify them if the employee occasionally works elsewhere. 

Importantly, sponsors must also report via the sponsor management system (SMS) “if any sponsored worker is, or will be, working entirely remotely, with little or no requirement to attend [the sponsor’s] premises or a client site (a contractual home worker).”

 The guidance also now provides that if a sponsored employee is working entirely (or almost entirely remotely) then the Home Office may ask the sponsor why they need the sponsored worker to come to the UK at all and whether, for example, they could perform the role from their home country. There is therefore a risk that the Home Office may scrutinise applications more closely where the individual will work remotely or may also ask questions about this during any compliance visit. Sponsors should therefore be ready to explain why the individual is required to be based in the UK.

Offshore sponsored workers

The updated guidance states that information on offshore workers can now be reported via the sponsor’s SMS account (rather than via email). Sponsors are required to notify the Home Office of the following:  

  • the date the offshore worker arrived in, or left, UK waters (as appropriate)
  • the name of the ship or vessel on which the offshore worker will be based
  • the method by which the offshore worker left UK waters (for example, by ship or aircraft)

 An individual is an “offshore worker” if they arrived directly in UK waters for the purpose of work without first entering through the UK landmass. Like other workers, an offshore worker must apply for, and be granted immigration permission before they arrive in UK waters for the purpose of working in those waters.


immigration, employment