Have you started received lots of reminders from the Home Office about your Certificate of Sponsorship allocation being about to expire? Not sure what you need to do? This blog is designed to explain what is going on and what you need to do about it.
What is a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) allocation?
A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is an electronic document that you use to sponsor an individual worker. Its an important document because it sets out all of the key information about the worker and their job. That is the information that the Home Office look at when they consider the worker’s visa application.
There are two types of CoS- Defined and Undefined.
- A Defined CoS is used for workers who are outside the UK and who are applying to enter the UK. You must apply for these as and when you need them.
- An Undefined CoS is used for workers who are already living in the UK and who you want to sponsor. You can request an allocation of blank undefined CoS on a yearly basis. They will sit in your Sponsor Management System (SMS) account to be allocated as you need them. Your allocation only lasts for a year and any unused certificates will then expire.
At that point, you start getting emails from the Home Office reminding you to renew your allocation.
What should I do when I start getting these emails?
You need to consider whether you need any undefined CoS next year and, if so, how many? Questions to consider are;
- Do you have any existing sponsored workers who need to extend their visa this year? If so, make sure you request enough certificates for them;
- Do you have any employees on temporary visas that are going to expire this year? If so, do you want to sponsor them? We often do skilled worker applications for workers on currently on student visas, graduate route visas for youth mobility scheme visas. These are temporary and often cannot be renewed. If you want to keep those workers, you will need to sponsor them, so request enough certificates for them;
- What are your wider recruitment plans? Are you in a sector with a lot of shortage occupation roles? Have you had discussions with a potential candidate who would need sponsorship? This might be someone already working as a skilled worker for another employer who want to move to your business.
- Do you have any existing skilled workers who you might promote this year? Where a sponsored employee’s job changes significantly you need to consider whether their new job is in a different standard occupation code. If it is, then you must assign them and new CoS and they must apply for a new visa.
How many CoS can I request?
There is no cap on how many undefined CoS you can ask for. However, you must justify your request. If you request a large number of CoS with no good explanation, then the Home Office are likely to refuse, or allocate you a smaller number.
What if I forget to request a new allocation?
If you miss the emails, or if you realise too late that you need an allocation, all is not lost! You can request an allocation later in the year. However, the Home Office take up to 18 weeks to consider these requests. If you need the CoS urgently then you can request priority consideration of your request for a fee of £200. For this reason, it is cheaper to request an allocation when prompted to avoid this where possible.
If you need advice on your Certificate of Sponsorship allocation, or if you need any support with your sponsor licence, please schedule a free conversation with one of our specialist lawyers below or get in touch using the form. We would love to help.
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