Breytenbachs have some excellent news for many of our Tier 2 and Tier 5 clients on the furlough issue. Several clients have asked us whether the Job Retention Scheme recently introduced by the UK government to help workers and companies during the Covid-19 will be considered as a ‘public fund.’
No Recourse to Public Funds Network (NRFP)
The No Recourse to Public Funds Network (NRFP) has published a factsheet on the rights and entitlements of people with NRPF to government assistance being provided during the pandemic.
As per the information published on their website, we can confirm that the following assistance can be claimed by a person who has no recourse to public funds (NRPF) when they meet the relevant requirements because none are considered to be ‘public funds’ for immigration purposes:
- Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
- Contributory-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Wages paid through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (‘furloughed workers’)
With specific regard to Tier 2 and Tier 5 visa holders, sponsors can temporarily reduce the pay of their employees to 80% of their salary or £2,500 per month, whichever is the lower.
Any reductions must be part of a company-wide policy to avoid redundancies and in which all workers are treated the same. These reductions must be temporary, and the employee’s pay must return to at least previous levels once these arrangements have ended.
HM Revenue and Customs
The UK Government has also confirmed via HM Revenue and Customs that foreign nationals in the UK are also eligible to be furloughed. The grants under the furlough are not counted as ‘access to public funds. Therefore, employees on all visa categories can be furloughed.
Public Funds Access
British or EEA citizens, right of the abode holders, or people who hold settled status in the UK are not subject to any public funds access’ restriction.
Please remember that if you have a ‘no recourse to public fund’ condition attached to your visa, you are NOT allowed to claim public funds. Otherwise, you will be in breach of the conditions of your leave. However, some exceptions may apply due to the Covid-19 emergency.
Please contact one of our immigration consultants for further information.