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UNITED KINGDOM – End of Offshore Wind Workers Concession
March 31, 2023
The Home Office has confirmed that Offshore Wind Workers Immigration Rules Concession (“the Concession”) will come to an end on 30 April 2023 and will not be extended.
This is a temporary concession first introduced to the Immigration Rules in 2017 allowing employees involved in the construction or maintenance of offshore wind farm projects in the UK territorial waters to work without the need to obtain a work visa. This means that international employees in this sector will need to leave in the UK by 30 April 2023 which would have a huge impact on the business.
Leave to enter under the terms of the concession will not be granted beyond 30 April 2023. During this period, firms involved in the construction or maintenance of wind farms within territorial waters should look to regularise the position of their workers, meaning the workers should have the appropriate permission to do work under the Immigration Rules.
What should you do as an employer?
Additional reporting duty
From 12 April 2023, employers must notify the Home Office when offshore workers enter and depart from the UK. This must be reported on or after the arrival or departure to the UK and no later than 10 business days after arrival or departure to the UK. All notifications must be sent to a designated email address: [email protected].
Actions to keep sponsoring the employees
If you wish to keep sponsoring the employees from 01 May 2023, the employees will need to obtain a work visa to keep working in the UK. A ‘Worker’ licence will let you sponsor people in different types of skilled employment. The skilled work can be for a short time, long-term or permanent depending on the worker’s visa.
The licence is split into:
- Skilled Worker – the role must meet the job suitability requirements
- Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Global Business Mobility) – for multinational companies which need to transfer established employees to the UK, previously the Intra-company Transfer visa
- Minister of Religion – for people coming to work for a religious organisation
- International Sportsperson – for elite sportspeople and coaches who will be based in the UK
Obtain a sponsor licence:
If you do not already hold a sponsor license, it is important to obtain a sponsor license from the Home Office before you can sponsor any foreign nationals. It is advised to submit the Sponsor Licence application immediately as the decision time could take up to 8 weeks. The company will need to meet the sponsor licence requirements and submit the relevant documents and evidence to the Home Office. The employee will also need to decide the visa route they wish to be license as above and the route they wish to sponsor their employees under.
Sponsor the employee under a work visa route:
Once the sponsor licence has been granted, you can start to sponsor workers under the relevant routes which usually is Skilled worker route or Global business mobility routes. The employees will need to meet the relevant eligibility requirements. You will need to consider of the role’s skill level, salary package and even the English language level for applicants.
If you have any compliance queries on the above or which are more nuanced, please contact us directly on [email protected]. For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to the UK, please contact us.