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October 17

Certificates of Sponsorship


OTB Legal

Certificates of Sponsorship

In this month’s blog, we will consider the type of certificates of sponsorship, that can be assigned by a company which appears on the UKVI list of Registered Sponsors.

The blog assumes that the Sponsor has an ‘A’ rating unless otherwise stated, with the main focus being the Skilled Worker route.

Skilled Worker Certificates of Sponsorship

If you wish to sponsor a skilled worker, you must assign them a certificate of sponsorship.  It is important that you have an understanding of the differences between the two types of certificates for skilled workers.  If you assign the wrong type of certificate, your licence can be revoked.

Defined Certificates:

Defined Certificates are for skilled workers who are outside the UK and need to apply for entry clearance to come to the UK under this route. 

You must first apply for a defined certificate via your Sponsor Management System and you must wait for the application to be approved before you can assign this to your worker. 

You can apply for a defined certificate even if you have not yet identified a candidate but think you will need to sponsor a worker from overseas.   Please be aware that a defined certificate of sponsorship will only be valid for three months from the date of approval, after which time it will expire and you will need to apply for a new certificate. 

Applications for defined certificates typically take one working day for the Home Office to determine.  It may take longer if the Home Office require further information.  There are certain standard occupation classification codes where the Home Office will generally ask for more information.  We see this in the care sector, and for lower level business development type roles. 

Undefined Certificates: 

Undefined Certificates of sponsorship, are for skilled workers who are applying from inside the UK.  Most commonly, undefined certificates are assigned to skilled workers who require an extension to their leave, or to people who are switching immigration routes in the UK. 

Undefined Certificates are allocated annually and sit in your Sponsor Management System until they are assigned to a skilled worker, or expire at your year-end.   The start of your year allocation is normally the date your licence was granted. 

If you do not have enough undefined certificates in your sponsor management system, you can make an ad hoc allocation request via the sponsor management system.  These applications take around 18 weeks to determine unless you can secure priority consideration.  

Businesses should check their allocation dates and determine how many undefined certificates they are likely to need for the coming year.  Do you have skilled workers whose leave is expiring and will need an extension?  Are you planning to take on a promising graduate who will switch from student/graduate to skilled worker? It is considerably more time efficient to get your year-in allocation right at the start of your allocation year.

Global Business Mobility:

Senior or Specialist Worker Certificates of Sponsorship

Introduced in April this year, the Global Business Mobility visa is the new iteration of the Intra-company Transfer visa. 

These certificates of sponsorship, like the undefined certificates, will sit in your Sponsor Management System and are allocated on a yearly basis. 

The same advice for undefined certificates applies to obtaining Global Business Mobility Senior or Specialist Worker certificates

Businesses who wish to transfer overseas specialists and senior workers to the UK for time-limited specific projects will need to consider the number of certificates they will need for the allocation year. 

Graduate Trainee 

The Graduate Trainee route replaced the Intra-company Transfer graduate Trainee route and allows you to sponsor overseas workers to undertake temporary work assignments with you in the UK

Graduate Trainee certificates can be assigned where the worker is on a structured graduate training programme leading to a senior management or specialist position with  your linked overseas business and is required to do a work placement in the UK as part of that programme.

Like the undefined, senior or specialist worker certificates, these will sit in your Sponsor Management System as part of your year-in allocation until they are assigned or expire.

UK Expansion Worker, Service Supplier and Secondment Workers

Under the ‘Global Business Mobility’ umbrella, there are certificates that can be assigned to UK Expansion Workers, Service Suppliers and Secondment Worker  categories that go beyond the scope of this article.

Get in touch

If you need help in any of the scenarios covered in this article, we would be delighted to support you. 

To book a free consultation appointment and discuss your options with a member of our business immigration team, see below.

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