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McGill & Co is a Scottish immigration law firm specialising in UK immigration, nationality and refugee law.

Licensed Tier 2, Tier 4 or Tier 5 sponsors: absences due to coronavirus

20 March 2020 Grace McGill Blog

Some Tier 4 students or Tier 2/5 employees may be prevented from attending their studies or employment due to illness, the need to serve a period of quarantine or the inability to travel due to travel restrictions caused by coronavirus.

Sponsors do not need to report Tier 4 students or Tier 2/5 employee absences related to coronavirus which they have authorised.

Sponsors do not need to withdraw sponsorship if they consider there are exceptional circumstances when:

  • a student will be unable to attend for more than 60 days
  • an employee is absent from work without pay for four weeks or more

We would advise that a robust absence reporting process be in place to ensure that if questioned in the future that you are able to provide evidence of the authorised absence being related to the Coronavirus.

Decisions on whether to withdraw a student with a Tier 4 visa from their studies or terminate an employment are for sponsors to make. The Home Office recognises the current situation is exceptional and will not take any compliance action against students or employees who are unable to attend their studies/work due to the coronavirus outbreak, or against sponsors which authorise absences and continue to sponsor students or employees despite absences for this reason.

The Home Office will keep this under review, especially if the length of absences mean a potential repeat of period of studies become necessary in the future.

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