On 21 March 2023, the Home Office confirmed the offshore wind workers concession (Concession) will end on 30 April 2023 with no extension. It was also announced that from 12 April 2023 businesses (and certain individuals) will need to notify the Home Office of arrival and leaving dates for offshore workers.

What is the Concession and when does it end?

The Concession was first introduced in 2017 on a temporary basis to allow the employment of overseas nationals joining vessels involved in the construction and maintenance of offshore wind farm projects in UK territorial waters without the need to obtain a work visa. In November 2022, it was announced that it would be coming to an end on 30 April 2023. See our previous blog and webinar recording for further details and the impact for employers.

The Home Office have now confirmed the Concession will end on 30 April 2023 and will not be extended. They have advised that the Skilled Worker route is likely to be the most suitable for these workers (although there are other visa options that may be suitable depending on the circumstances).

What does this mean in practice?

It means workers will need to leave the UK by 30 April 2023 under the Concession. If they want to work in the UK, they will need to apply for entry clearance before they start work. It will not be possible for workers to enter the UK before 30 April 2023 and then stay in the UK to work after that date.

What notification requirements have been announced?

The notification requirements for businesses (and individuals in some cases) in the lead up to the end of the Concession will be published in a Statutory Instrument dated 22 March 2023 (the Regulations), but are summarised below:

  • From 12 April 2023, offshore workers (or their sponsor if they have one), defined under the relevant legislation, will need to notify the Home Office when they arrive in the UK (that is, arrive in UK waters for the purpose of undertaking work in those waters) and when they leave.
  • The sponsor of an offshore worker will be responsible for fulfilling the notification requirement. The notification must be made no earlier than the day of arrival/leaving and no later than 10 working days after arrival/leaving. The email address that can be used for such notifications is: offshoreworkernotificationsinbox@homeoffice.gov.uk.
  • Offshore workers without a sponsor are also required to report when they have arrived and left the UK, as set out above, using the same email address.

There will be guidance published shortly with further details about the changes.

How can Brodies help?

Brodies can:

  • assist you in determining whether you are 'a sponsor' for the purposes of the Regulations
  • assist you in making the required notifications
  • provide further information about the consequences of breaching the Regulations.

This blog is accurate as of the date it was written, but it is only intended as a brief guide, and it is not intended as legal advice. You can find more information on the UK Government website. If you have specific queries about the end of the Concession or the impact it may have on your workforce, please get in contact with Elaine McIlroy or Erin McLafferty.