Sponsored workers in the UK holding a visa under the Skilled Worker route (previously known as Tier 2) frequently seek supplementary employment while retaining their role with their sponsor, by providing freelancing or consultancy services outside their main employment to others.
The Immigration Rules allow limited forms of supplementary employment which do not require the migrant to inform the Home Office before taking this extra work, however their guidance does not clarify all scenarios in which a sponsored worker will be providing services to other companies and individuals and how this will affect their status in the UK.
Based on the current Home Office guidance, there are no impediments to a Skilled Worker pursuing supplementary employment provided that it is:
- in either a job in Appendix Shortage Occupation List or a job in the same occupation code as the job for which their Certificate of Sponsorship was assigned; and
- no more than 20 hours a week and outside the working hours covered by the CoS.
Due to the limited guidance, migrants should seek legal advice before taking any steps which may affect their sponsorship and therefore their UK visa status.
Potential issues and points to consider
In addition to reviewing that this additional work meets the Home Office requirements for supplementary employment, workers are advised to also consider their employment contract obligations which may prohibit them from pursuing work or business interests outside their employer’s business. A breach of their contract due to performing unauthorised work may lead to termination of their sponsored work and subsequently of their permission to be in the UK.
The worker should also consider the differences between the type of supplementary services which they intend to provide, for example if they are interested in setting up an entity via which they will work as a sole trader, setting up a limited company and becoming a company director, or working as self-employed/freelancer and providing services independently from an entity. The Home Office only permit limited types of supplementary services, and so we strongly suggest you seek legal advice to ensure it is permitted. Individuals considering additional work or business activity should also consider tax implications and seek professional tax advice from a tax advisor or accountant.
There is no clear guidance from the Home Office confirming all the scenarios in which a worker will be providing additional services to others and if this falls within the current provisions allowing supplementary employment.
We can assist sponsored workers with assessing their particular situation and ensuring their next steps are compliant with the immigration conditions of their visa, and to highlight any other factors which may affect their immigration status.
Branch Austin McCormick are global immigration specialists in assisting organisations and individuals.
For more information about supplementary employment or any immigration advice, please contact Sofia Marques Anaya at email@example.com or another member of our immigration team.