Attention Sponsors: Priority
service is in high demand

The Home Office’s priority change of circumstances service allows sponsors to fast-track certain administrative changes in relation to their sponsor licence, by submitting an application by email.

A-rated sponsors can use the service to make the following requests:

  • additional certificate of sponsorship (CoS) allocation
  • annual certificate of sponsorship (CoS) allocation
  • add a new level 1 user
  • change level one user
  • replace the authorising officer (AO)
  • amend the authorising officer (AO)
  • replace the key contact (KC)
  • amend the key contact (KC)
  • add a representative
  • amend your organisation details – moved to new premises

The charge for the priority service is £200 per request, and those using the service will usually receive a decision on their request within five working days. Under standard processing times, requests can take up to 18 weeks to process.

Given the lengthy processing period, Smith Stone Walters regularly recommends this Home Office service to its clients. It is of particular benefit to those UK businesses in need of a fresh allocation of Certificates of Sponsorship – either to sponsor new migrant employees or extend the stay of existing sponsored workers. To many sponsors, the prospect of deferring the recruitment of skilled workers by 18 weeks to await a new distribution of CoS from the Home Office is inconceivable so purchasing this optional service frequently becomes a necessity.

How it works

A maximum of 60 priority service requests will be accepted each day. The service is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. Any requests submitted outside of these operating hours will not be considered.

Note that you must have submitted a request via the online Sponsor Management System (SMS) prior to emailing the priority service mailbox. Once you have submitted your SMS change, you can then email, with a completed priority request form as an attachment.

If your request has been successful, you will receive an email from the priority service team to advise that your request has been accepted, and a second email containing a link to make the £200 payment. You have 72 hours from when you receive the second email to make a payment. If you fail to make the payment within that time, your priority request will expire and you will need to apply again to be considered.

High demand

The priority service is currently experiencing high demand and therefore the Home Office is seeing the full 60 slot allocation reached by around 9:03am each morning. For this reason, notification emails will no longer be sent to advise sponsors when the daily limit has been reached.

If you do not receive a response to your priority email request stating that a payment link has been sent, please assume that the request has not been accepted and it is in your best interest to try again the following working day from 9am.

Smith Stone Walters therefore advises any sponsors with urgent requests to submit them as soon as the service opens each morning, and be prepared to make several attempts before your request is accepted.

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