The Home office updated the guidance on 4 January 2021 regarding the following:
If your student or employee is absent
The Home office will not take enforcement action against sponsors who continue to sponsor students or employees despite absences due to coronavirus.
You do not need to report student or employee absences related to coronavirus.
This can include absences due to illness, their need to isolate or inability to travel due to travel restrictions.
You do not need to withdraw sponsorship if because of coronavirus:
- a student is unable to attend for more than 60 days
- an employee is absent from work without pay for more than 4 weeks
This will be kept under review.
If you have issued a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) or a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) and the sponsored employee or student has not yet applied for a visa
The employee or student will still be able to apply for a visa.
The start date for the course or employment stated on the CoS or CAS may have changed. We will not automatically refuse such cases.
For example, we may accept a CoS or CAS if they have become invalid because the employee or student was unable to travel as a result of coronavirus. The Home office will consider this on a case by case basis.
If you’re sponsoring employees who are working from home
You do not have to notify the home office if you’re sponsoring employees who are working from home due to coronavirus.
Other changes to their working arrangements must still be reported as usual.
If you’re sponsoring a student who’s waiting for their permission as a Student or Child Student application to be decided
You may allow students to start their studies before their visa application has been decided if:
- you are a Student sponsor
- you have assigned the student a CAS
- the student submitted their application before their current visa expired and has shown you evidence of this
- the course they start is the same as the one listed on their CAS
- the student has a valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme(ATAS) certificate if required
Your reporting responsibilities start from the date that you issue the CAS, not from the date that their application is granted.
If the student’s application is eventually rejected as invalid or refused you must terminate the student’s studies.
If you require further clarification, please contact us.