Can a Tier 2 worker be furloughed?
The UK Government's furlough scheme has seen a high number of applications from a number of sectors. Unfortunately Tier 2 workers are not immune to the possibility of furlough but since this is a new scheme, there have been questions about how it could be applied to a Tier 2 worker. The main points that need to be considered are as follows:
- It is possible to furlough a Tier 2 worker using the Government scheme. This does need to be reported to the Home Office however it will not have long term implications for their visa.
- The furlough scheme does not constitute public funds, and therefore it is not a breach of an individual's visa conditions.
- The Government guidance now confirms that any furlough pay can fall to 80% of the usual salary or £2,500 per month, whichever is lower, provided certain requirements are met.
- The guidance doesn't cover amended duties or part time working, so care needs to be taken if a Tier 2 worker is offered something other than furlough.
What happens if a Tier 2 worker is made redundant?
One recent client was concerned that the furlough scheme may not be sufficient for her, and she could lose her job as a result of any economic downturn. This is a concern for any Tier 2 worker, because their visa is tied to their job, and redundancy can lead to Home Office action.
Although any redundancy situation is stressful, when the prospect of losing your right to live in the country is added it can be particularly difficult. In summary, if this happens the position is as follows:
- The Tier 2 worker does not immediately lose their right to live in the UK. Instead the employer will report the redundancy to the Home Office, who will determine the next course of action.
- Usually, the Home Office will write to the individual to curtail their visa. This essentially means bringing their visa expiry date forward so that it expires 60 days after the Home Office make the curtailment decision.
- Unfortunately the individual cannot work during any period after the loss of their employment, but they can apply for an alternative visa or find a new sponsor to support a new application.
- Usually someone making a new Tier 2 application cannot start work until it is approved, which is a problem as visa centres are currently closed so applications cannot be progressed. However, the Home Office have now introduced temporary guidance to allow employees to start work with their new sponsor while the application is being considered.
If you are an employer with Tier 2 workers, or an employee with concerns about their visa, please get in touch to find out how our expert team can help you.