March 2024: New Statement of Changes In Immigration Rules Relaxes Supplementary Employment Conditions

Apr 08, 2024
Last Updated on Apr 18, 2024

On 14th March 2024, the Home Office published its latest statement of changes in immigration, containing some of the most wide-ranging UK immigration law amendments seen for many years. The statement includes a change in the scope of eligible roles for Skilled Workers in supplementary employment. This is just one of the many changes included in the March statement of changes, all of which are designed, according to the Home Office, to “reduce net migration by encouraging businesses to invest in the domestic workforce rather than over-relying on migration”. In this article, we will explain the implications of the changes to the supplementary work rules for Skilled Workers in the UK.

What is the current rule for supplementary employment?

Under the current immigration rules, skilled workers holders can undertake additional employment (supplementary employment) outside of their main role as long as:

  • They continue to work for their sponsoring employer in their sponsored role. 
  • It is outside of their contracted working hours
  • It is for no more than 20 hours a week, and
  • It is either in the same occupation and professional level as their sponsored role or in an occupation on the 2020 Shortage Occupation List (SOL).

What is the new rule for supplementary employment?

Under the new immigration rules, Skilled Workers will now be able to do supplementary employment in jobs eligible for under the Skilled Worker route. This will significantly increase the range of roles that are eligible for additional employment for Skilled Workers. 

As the explanatory memorandum accompanying the statement of changes explains, “In the case of supplementary employment in the Skilled Worker route, this is being broadened to encompass all occupations eligible for the route”. 

It is important to note that the relaxing of rules on supplementary working for Skilled Workers does not apply to those on other sponsored work routes that are also subject to the Home Office’s supplementary employment conditions. 

What are the implications of this change?

The latest changes for Skilled Workers who wish to do supplementary work in addition to their sponsored role mark a significant relaxation of the rules. It is likely that more skilled workers will now take on supplementary work, which may also help reduce the workforce shortage in the UK. Skilled Worker visa holders who take on additional work must be careful to remain within the supplementary work rules and the conditions of their visa to avoid losing their right to work in the UK. It is also essential that all employers who take on skilled workers for any form of eligible supplementary work carry out the necessary ‘Right to Work’ checks and keep the necessary documentation as evidence of the right to work.

Caught in a trap of illegal employment

One of the other problems that we have observed with the current work visa and supplementary work rules is that Skilled Workers are sometimes sponsored by employers in the UK but have not been given enough (or any) work or shifts. This has been a particular problem for those working in the UK care sector. The result is that care workers and other overseas workers find themselves caught in a trap of illegal employment because they have effectively been forced to take on supplementary employment when not working for their sponsor. Unfortunately, this is a breach of the conditions of their work visa. This has arisen due to both the lack of understanding of visa holders and employers regarding visa conditions and unscrupulous employers who assign Certificates of Sponsorship for non-genuine vacancies. Overseas workers then arrive in the UK with no job and seek work wherever they can. This further highlights the importance of sponsored employers understanding the conditions of their visa and employers understanding their sponsorship and right-to-work check obligations.

Final words

If you are unsure which roles are now eligible for supplementary employment for Skilled Workers, speak to an immigration Solicitor who will be able to advise you. Likewise, if you are an employer considering taking on a Skilled Worker visa for supplementary workers but are not sure of the rules, an immigration Solicitor will be able to guide you. 

A Y & J Solicitors is a specialist immigration law firm with extensive experience with all types of visa applications. We have an in-depth understanding of immigration law and are professional and results-focused. For assistance with your visa application or any other UK immigration law concerns, please contact us on +44 20 7404 7933 or at contact us today. We’re here to help!

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