Immigration update: New document retention requirement for Tier 2 and 5 workers – date of entry to the UK

23 August 2019

The Tier 2 and 5 sponsor guidance has been amended and now requires sponsors to retain evidence of the date any migrant they sponsor entered the UK, in addition to the usual right to work checks.

When you are onboarding a Tier 2 or 5 worker before the start of their employment, there are two ways to obtain proof of when a person entered the UK depending on whether they were seen by an immigration officer on arrival or if they used the eGates:

If an immigration officer was seen on entry, check and copy the entry stamp. 

Workers entering the UK under Tier 2 or 5 will have an initial 30 day visa endorsed in their passport (or the full visa length if it is valid for less than 6 months).  On arrival in the UK, if they pass an immigration officer, their passport should be stamped with the date of first entry to the UK. 

Before any work commences in the UK, sponsors are now required to:

  • check the date of the entry stamp is within the validity of the visa endorsed in the passport; and
  • take a copy of the entry stamp and retain this on file. 

If the eGates were used, obtain evidence of the date of entry

Since 20 May 2019, nationals of the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea have been able to use the automated eGates on arrival in the UK.  If the worker first arrived in the UK using an eGate, they will not have seen an immigration officer and their passport will not have been stamped with a date of entry.  Where you have a Tier 2 or 5 worker who enters for the first time via an eGate,  you should therefore:

  • ask the worker to provide you with evidence (in paper or electronic form) of their date of entry to the UK, such as travel tickets or a boarding pass;
  • check the date of entry was within the validity of the initial visa endorsed in their passport. If it was not as set out above, before allowing the individual to start working, they should leave the Common Travel Area and re-enter the UK within the validity of the visa.  If they use the eGates again, you will need to obtain fresh evidence of the date of entry; and then
  • retain on file a record of the date that the worker entered the UK. You are not required to keep copies of the evidence (such as the travel ticket or boarding pass).

Please note: If the worker arrived in the UK before the ‘valid from’ date in the visa, you should tell the worker to leave the Common Travel Area (UK, Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland) and re-enter the UK ensuring their passport is either stamped with the date of entry during the validity of the visa, or they enter via the eGates and provide a copy of their flight ticket or boarding pass.  The worker should not start working for you in the UK until that process is complete because the Tier 2 or 5 visa will not have been ‘activated’ on their arrival in the UK and so they will not have the right to work.

For further information, please contact a member of our immigration team.

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