Tier 2 sponsors: deadline for
renewing unrestricted CoS
allocation is TODAY

If you are the sponsor of skilled foreign workers, you have until the end of today to renew your allocation of unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS). After which, current allocations will expire and any unused certificates will be withdrawn from use.

‘Despite Brexit, this is still a requirement for companies who wish to employ overseas workers over the next financial year. We advise them to look ahead at their recruitment needs for 2019 and to plan accordingly’

David Hugkulstone, Director at Smith Stone Walters

A Certificate of Sponsorship is an electronic document necessary to the recruitment of all Tier 2 migrant employees, with both ‘restricted’ and ‘unrestricted’ being made available to employers each year. A limited number of ‘restricted’ CoS are up for grabs by Tier 2 migrants and their employers on a monthly basis, whilst there is no limit to the number of ‘unrestricted’ CoS which are available for allocation to Tier 2 sponsors each year in April.

Why do we need to renew our annual CoS allocation?

While some companies may qualify for auto-allocation, the majority do not. At the start of the new financial year, the Home Office will automatically reset allocations for many sponsors to zero, even if you had a number of CoS assigned during the previous year.

Therefore if you require a specific number of unrestricted CoS over the coming year, a renewal request should be submitted to the Home Office now. You will need to renew:

  • If you intend to sponsor migrants from inside the UK who are new to your organisation;
  • If you intend to temporarily transfer existing staff to a UK office from overseas; and/or
  • If 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 today’s deadline, UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) will not guarantee a processing time for considering new allocation requests after this date.

A delayed renewal request is likely to cause much disruption to both the sponsor and assignee. The sponsor would consequently be unable to sponsor migrant employees until a renewal request had been filed and considered by the authorities.

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 ‘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 advisable to factor in any business aims and projections which may have an impact 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.

Sponsors should be aware that the more specific information which can be provided in support of the CoS allocation request, such as project details and candidates’ names, the more likely it is that the full allocation request will be granted.

It is worth remembering that additional ‘in-year’ requests can be filed if an initial CoS allocation is too low for a sponsor’s HR needs. This is of particular importance for sponsors operating within industries which experience peaks and troughs in their recruitment flow.

Smith Stone Walters recommends

  • All sponsors should consider the potential number of CoS required over the forthcoming year and file a request for a new allocation ahead of today’s deadline.
  • If this matter is not settled by today, companies could find themselves with a zero allocation of CoS.
  • The sponsor would consequently be unable to sponsor migrant employees until such time as an in-year renewal request had been filed and subsequently considered by the authorities.

We understand, manage and support corporate immigration strategies, advising our clients on all aspects of nationality and UK work permit law.

Contact us for support and advice on how to best manage your migrant recruitment needs over the coming year.

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