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Can a Tier 2 sponsored worker start working before their visa has been granted?

Ordinarily, no but during the pandemic, yes.

You can start employing a Tier 2 or 5 worker who is in the UK before their visa application has been decided if the following conditions have been met.

  • You have assigned the worker a Certificate of Sponsorship
  • They have made an in time visa application (i.e. they made their new visa application before their current leave expired) and they have provided you with evidence of this
  • The job you employ them in is the same as the one stated on their Certificate of Sponsorship.

Sponsors should be aware that they should carry out right to work checks before the individual starts undertaking work for them and if their visa application is eventually rejected, they must stop employing them.

Although sponsors will not be able to record migrant activity on the SMS about these workers, the Home Office has confirmed that any necessary reports should still be made on the sponsor’s internal systems.

If the worker is outside the UK, they may be able to start work for you remotely subject to the relevant employment, tax and immigration requirements in that country.