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Redundancy UK immigration considerations


This FAQ document sets out the key considerations for your business if you have any sponsored workers in the UK who are at risk of redundancy. It is very important that you are aware of your obligations as a sponsor and what you must do to ensure that the business remains compliant throughout this process.

What do we need to do if we make a sponsored worker redundant?
  • The sponsoring employer ('Sponsor') is required to notify UK Visas and Immigration ('UKVI') of the end of the sponsored worker’s employment. This must be done within 10 working days of their termination date.
  • The Sponsor will be required to provide details, such as the reason why the sponsorship is ending and the sponsored worker's last known contact details (address, telephone number, and email). It is therefore important that the Sponsor keeps up to date records of their employees in case of any change to these details prior to the end of employment.
  • The Sponsor must retain all documents relating to the sponsored worker throughout the period of employment and for the shorter of either: (1) one year after the Sponsor ends the sponsorship; or (2) the date on which a UKVI compliance offer has examined and approved the files (in the case of a UKVI audit).
Can we reduce working hours to avoid redundancy for sponsored workers?
  • It is possible to reduce the working hours of sponsored workers if they continue to meet the minimum salary threshold for their visa category and the occupation code under which their visa is sponsored (whichever is higher). The relevant occupation code will be confirmed on their Certificate of Sponsorship ('CoS').

  • If the sponsored worker was a 'high earner' at the time their CoS was assigned, they must still meet this threshold.

  • The Sponsor must report a reduction in salary within 10 working days of the date of change and evidence must be retained on the sponsor compliance file.
Can a sponsored worker change roles within the same organisation should their role become redundant?
  • If the new role falls within the same occupation code as the sponsored worker's current role (as confirmed on their CoS), this would be permissible. The Sponsor must ensure that the new role is a genuine vacancy and meets the requirements of the specific work visa category. The Sponsor must submit a notification on the Sponsor Management System ('SMS') within 10 working days of the new role.

  • Where there is a significant change in the role, which results in it being classified under a different occupation code, a new CoS would need to be assigned and the sponsored worker would be required to submit a new visa application from within the UK. This would incur additional government fees and the sponsored worker would not be permitted to start their new role until their visa application has been approved.
How long can a sponsored worker remain in the UK after the end of employment?
  • As noted above, when a sponsored worker’s employment ends, it prompts an obligation on the sponsor to report this to the UKVI.

  • The notification will trigger the following:

    • If the sponsored worker has less than 60 calendar days remaining on their visa, the UKVI may decide not to take any action. However, the sponsored worker must leave the UK or submit a valid immigration application prior to their visa expiry date.

    • Where the visa has more than 60 calendar days left before the expiry, the UKVI will normally reduce the length of the visa to 60 calendar days. The UKVI will usually contact the sponsored worker at their last known residential address by post, or via e-mail and explain that they must leave the UK or submit a valid immigration application to remain in the UK by a specified date.

  • The 60-day period is discretionary and cannot be guaranteed. It can also take the UKVI much longer than 60 days to contact the sponsored worker. This makes it difficult to provide exact guidance as to when an individual must leave the UK or submit a valid application to remain in the UK. As a guideline, sponsored workers should plan as though they will be given 60 days from their employment termination date.

  • The 60-day period is not multi-entry and once the individual leaves the UK, they may not be permitted to re-enter on the same visa as they will no longer be entering for the purpose for which their visa was granted (see below).
Can someone travel abroad after being terminated?
  • Once terminated, a sponsored worker should not attempt to re-enter the UK using their sponsored visa. They will no longer be entering for the purpose for which their visa was granted and there is a risk that their Biometric Residence Permit ('BRP') (if they have one) could be confiscated and/or that they could be denied re-entry. The same would apply to any family members whose immigration status is linked to the sponsored worker.  

  • If the sponsored worker leaves and needs to re-enter for a short period to finalise their relocation abroad, it may be possible for them to enter as a visitor or they may be able to apply for a visit visa for this purpose, however we recommend seeking further advice from us before proceeding due to the risk of additional questioning at the border.
Can we continue to sponsor during a period of gardening leave?
  • The guidance does not specify 'gardening leave', but it does refer to the end of a “worker’s contract of employment” being the relevant point in the process to submit the departure notification. Those on gardening leave are typically still under a contract of employment and so sponsorship can continue during this period.

  • Importantly, sponsors have obligations regarding monitoring and tracking sponsored workers which will still need to be fulfilled whilst an individual remains sponsored on gardening leave.
What is the impact of redundancy on accompanying dependants?
  • When a sponsored worker's visa is cancelled, the UKVI will also cancel the visas of any family members whose are linked to the main applicant’s visa.
Can an individual apply for a new visa in the UK after they have been terminated?
  • Provided the visa (or cancellation period) has not expired, the individual may be eligible to apply, within the UK, to switch to another visa category or change Sponsor under the same category.

  • If the individual is not eligible to apply (for example because they left the UK and they have re-entered as a visitor), then the only option will be to apply from overseas.
Is an individual able to visit the UK after their visa is cancelled?
  • Yes, once the visa is cancelled and the individual has left the UK, they are permitted to return with another visa, provided they meet the criteria for that immigration status. This includes entering the UK as a visitor.

  • If they enter the UK as a visitor soon after sponsorship ends, it would be advisable to carry evidence of the purpose of their trip when entering the UK which evidence that they are a 'genuine' visitor. Examples could include: (1) a return flight, (2) evidence of ties to their country of ordinary residence, (3) financial means to cover the cost of the trip, and (4) evidence of intended activities whilst in the UK.

  • Certain nationalities may be required to obtain a visitor visa in advance of travel whilst others are exempt from this requirement and could seek to enter at the border without a visa.
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