The annual renewal of unrestricted CoS allocations is fast approaching – don’t get caught out!

If you are a sponsor of skilled foreign workers, now is the time to renew your allocation of unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS). Current CoS allocations will expire on 6 April this year and any unused certificates currently allocated to a sponsor will be withdrawn from use.

In order to receive a new allocation for 2015 – 2016, a renewal request should be filed without further delay. As a sponsor you should renew your annual CoS allocation if:

  • Over the coming year, you intend to sponsor migrants from inside the UK who are new to your organisation;
  • You maintain a sponsor licence covering Tier 2, Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) and intend to temporarily transfer existing staff to a UK office from overseas;
  • You currently employ migrant staff who will be required to extend their sponsored permission to work in the UK within the next 12 months in order to continue in their employment with you.

Although sponsors are able to submit their renewal beyond April’s deadline, UKVI will not guarantee a processing time for considering new allocation requests after this date. Delaying the submission of your renewal request is likely to cause much disruption to both the sponsor and assignee.

How can we renew our CoS allocation?

The renewal of your CoS allocation must be made using the Sponsorship Management System (SMS). Sponsors may log into SMS here. After logging in, users should go to the ‘Request renewal for annual CoS/CAS allocations’ to register their request.

How many CoS should we request?

Sponsors can use the ‘Licence summary’ tab in SMS to find out how many CoS were assigned to its organisation over the previous allocation year. This information can be used to guide the sponsor as to the allocation they should request for the coming year. When considering the number of certificates required, it is also advisable to factor in any business aims and projections which may impact on staff recruitment over the next 12 months.

The justification provided in support of the renewal request will then be considered by the authorities before a decision is made as to whether or not the full number of certificates required will be allocated.

What does the automatic renewal of CoS allocations mean for us?

This year will see many sponsors receiving an automatic CoS allocation renewal based upon the number of CoS used from the previous year.

An automatic renewal will mean that a sponsor will have their allocation renewed automatically and this new allocation will be equal to the number of CoS that you assigned to migrants in that category over the previous allocation year. For example, if, during the previous allocation year a sponsor assigned only 100 Tier 2 ICT CoS to migrant employees out of its annual 250 Tier 2 ICT CoS allocation, this sponsor will only receive 100 Tier 2 ICT CoS for the following year.

Unfortunately, UKVI has not provided a list of which sponsors will receive automatic renewals and it is therefore all the more important to ensure you seek to renew your allocation manually.

How can I find out if our allocation has been automatically renewed?

If your sponsor licence account has been adjusted to receive an automatic CoS allocation renewal for 2015/2016, you should receive correspondence confirming this adjustment.

It is possible to find out whether or not your allocation renewal has been automatically processed by referring to the ‘Request renewal of annual CoS/CAS allocations’ tab under the ‘Licence summary, applications and services’ page in SMS. If the words ‘automatically renewed’ are displayed then a sponsor may be confident that their CoS allocation for the next allocation year has been renewed automatically.

If the words ‘add a request’ are displayed, your CoS allocation for the coming year is not subject to automatic renewal and your request must be made manually as normal.

Smith Stone Walters recommends…

…that all sponsors consider the potential number of CoS required over the forthcoming year and file a request for a new allocation ahead of the April deadline. If this matter is not actioned ahead of time, companies could find themselves with a zero allocation of certificates and unable to sponsor migrant employees until such time as the renewal request has been filed and subsequently considered by the authorities.


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