What about if a sponsored worker’s employment will be furloughed?

Home Office guidance confirms that if Skilled Worker Sponsors have temporarily reduced or ceased trading, they can temporarily reduce the pay of sponsored employees to 80% of their salary or £2,500 per month, whichever is the lower. This should permit Sponsors to take advantage of the UK government furloughed workers scheme, in which the Sponsor can claim back the salary payments for a furloughed worker from the government.

Home Office guidance confirms that any reductions must be part of a company-wide policy to avoid redundancies and in which all workers are treated the same. The reductions must be temporary, and the employee’s pay must return to at least previous levels once these arrangements have ended.

Home Office guidance therefore indirectly confirms that a Sponsor can furlough a worker and that this would not need to withdraw their sponsorship. The furlough scheme involves the employer continuing to pay the employee then making a claim to the government for reimbursement, so the migrant will maintain continuity of employment with your business.

There has been no direct comment on the reduction of hours worked as a a result of furlough and how this will affect sponsorship. Home Office guidance is minimal and is being updated regularly, so you are advised to take expert advice to keep on top of these changes.