End of the Offshore Wind Workers Concession….
On 27 March 2023, the Home Office finally confirmed that after seven years, the Offshore Wind Workers Concession (the 'Concession') will expire on 30 April 2023 and will not be extended.
This will have massive implications for everyone in the sector as some international workers will now need to leave the UK by 30 April 2023.
Employers must ensure that all offshore workers have the right to work in the UK and must ensure that non-settled workers apply for an entry clearance (a visa from outside the UK) to work on wind farms in the UK.
The Home Office have imposed an additional reporting duty whereby employers must notify the Home Office when offshore workers enter and depart from the UK. This must be complied with from 12 April 2023, prior to the end of the existing concession.
When the notification must be made?
Arrival to the UK – within 10 working days beginning on the day after arrival to the UK
Departure from the UK – within 10 working days from the date of departure from the UK.
How will the notification be made?
A designated email address has been created.
Actions to be taken
The most suitable route for employers to continue to employ non-settled workers to work on wind farms in the UK, is by sponsorship.
UK employers who do not already hold a valid sponsor licence ensure that a licence is granted prior to sponsoring non-settled workers. To apply for a licence, a UK employer must demonstrate that they are an actively trading company in the UK and must ensure that they are aware of the compliance duties imposed upon them upon the grant of a licence.
The application will require UK sponsors to submit supporting documents with an application and must appoint Key Personnel (individual(s) with overall responsibility for the licence) to submit the application on behalf of the UK company.
It can take up to eight weeks for a licence to be granted. However, the application can be expedited for a fee of £500 and be processed within 10 working days.
Given that the deadline for the end of the concession is fast approaching, UK employers who do not already hold a sponsor licence, must submit an application imminently.
The final stages of the process to sponsor a non-settled worker can be completed upon the grant of the licence.
Non-settled workers applying for sponsorship visas such as Skilled Worker visas or Global Business Mobility (senior/specialist) worker visas must meet the relevant eligibility requirements, which include the role being at the appropriate skill level and being paid at or above the minimum salary threshold.
Depending on the visa being obtained, it should also be noted that non-settled workers applying for a Skilled Worker visa will be required to satisfy the English language skills requirement at level B1 (intermediate) or above.
Our offshore energy team are assisting several clients on this issue already, so please do get in contact if you have any questions.