COVID-19 Concessions for NHS Workers have come to an end
Important changes regarding supplementary work for sponsored NHS workers came into effect on 4 October 2022.
Sponsored NHS workers are those who hold a visa to work in an NHS role. Many sponsored NHS workers, such as visa holding doctors and nurses, work in their main job and then undertake additional work, for the NHS or for private healthcare providers alongside their main role. This is supplementary work.
Prior to the COVID-19 concessions being introduced, sponsored migrants including NHS workers could only undertake supplementary work for up to 20 hours per week and it had to be in the same occupation as they were sponsored to work in or in a shortage occupation.
The COVID-19 concessions relaxed these requirements to enable the NHS to benefit from additional availability of sponsored NHS workers. These concessions have ended.
Employers and agencies employing NHS workers need to be aware of these changes to ensure they are not employing sponsored NHS workers for longer than is permitted, and therefore in breach of their visa. NHS licence holders need to be aware of the changes to ensure their sponsored workers are complying with the requirements of their visa. Sponsored workers should also be aware of the changes to their visa conditions to ensure they do not inadvertently fall foul of these changes.
In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Home Office introduced concessions to the Immigration Rules which relaxed some of the sponsorship duties and visa conditions for NHS workers.
During the pandemic until 4 October 2022, sponsored NHS workers had been permitted to undertake unlimited supplementary work in any role at any skill level. This contrasts with the Immigration Rules in place pre pandemic and to which we have now returned which limit the numbers of hours of supplementary work a sponsored migrant can undertake and limit the occupations in which they can work.
When working for their sponsor, a sponsored worker is usually only permitted to work at the address given on their Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), and any change to work location was required to be reported to the Home Office by the sponsor.
During the period of the concessions, sponsored NHS workers have been permitted to work at any NHS hospital and have not been limited to the place of employment as specified in their CoS. Sponsoring employers have been free from the requirement to report a change in work location to the Home Office. These concessions have also come to an end.
Changes in effect from 4 October 2022
The concessions detailed above ended on 4 October 2022. Employers and employees must therefore be aware of the following points to ensure their continued compliance with the Rules:
- From 4 October 2022, when working for their sponsor, sponsored employees will no longer be able to work at a workplace not specified in their CoS. Any changes to work location will have to be reported by the employer to the Home Office via the SMS within 10 working days of the change.
- Supplementary work for sponsored employees will, from 4 October 2022, be limited to 20 hours per week. Any supplementary work undertaken must fall within the employee’s current occupation or be work in an occupation which is found on the shortage occupation list.
The above changes will bring the Rules in relation to NHS employees back in line with the Rules governing other sponsored migrants.
The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.
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