What is a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)?
Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) is an electronic record that is issued by approved sponsors to workers they want to hire. The workers then use the CoS to apply for their work visas.
Who needs a CoS?
According to the Home Office: UK visa sponsorship for employers, candidates who want to apply for a Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) Visa, Intra-company visa, or a Tier 5 (Temporary worker) visa will need a CoS.
Who can issue a CoS?
The CoS can be issued by an organisation that has a valid Sponsorship Licence. It is the employer’s responsibility to apply for a CoS for their employees.
Types of CoS
There are two types of Cos, Defined CoS and Undefined Cos.
What is Defined CoS?
A Defined CoS is for people who are applying for a Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) visa from outside the UK.
What is Undefined CoS?
An Undefined CoS is for skilled workers applying from inside the UK and applicants under other types of visas. For example, people under Tier 4 student visa in the UK who wants to switch into Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) Visa will need an Undefined CoS.
When the employer applies for a Sponsorship Licence, they’ll be asked to estimate how many undefined CoS they’ll need for Skilled Workers in the first year.
How much does it cost to issue a CoS for a candidate?
The CoS fee is £199. However, it only costs £21 for a temporary worker. The CoS fee has to be paid by the employer.
How long does it take for an employer to request a CoS?
According to the Home Office, it usually takes one working day. However, it may take longer if the Home Office needs to take further checks on the information in your application. If they require more information from the employer, Home Office will send an email to the company’s Authorising Officer.
CoS allocation priority Service
If the employer wants to get a CoS granted faster, they can apply for the priority service, the priority service fee is £200.
How to apply for a CoS?
Employers should apply for a Defined and Undefined CoS through the Sponsorship Management System (SMS). Employers should have the access to the SMS when their sponsor licenses are granted. If you would like to know how to get a Sponsor License, please read our previous article here, or submit your query on our contact form.
How long does a CoS valid for?
First, the employer should request CoS from SMS, they can request one or many, depending on how many migrant workers they are going to hire. When an employer got their CoS granted, the granted CoS are valued for 90 days.
Within 90 days of CoS being granted, the employer should assign the CoS to their prospective employees who are applying for a Skilled Worker visa or a temporary visa.
Assigning a CoS to an employee means the employer should put the employee’s information (name and position) into the granted CoS, this also needs to be done on the SMS.
If the employer does not assign the granted CoS within 90days, the CoS will expire and be invalid, the employer will need to request again if they wish to hire migrant workers.
After the employer assigns a CoS to an employee, the assigned CoS is valid for 90 days, the employee should use this assigned CoS to apply for their visa within 90 days. If they do not apply within 90 days, their visa application will be rejected.
Annual CoS year
If you have got your sponsor license before 30 November 2020, your Annual CoS year is the same as the financial year, from 6 April to the following 5 April.
If you have got your sponsor license in the year 2021, your Annual CoS year is calculated based on the date your sponsor license was granted (or the date your CoS allocation renewal request was previously granted) and therefore every sponsor’s annual CoS year is different.
It is critical to know when your allocation year resets since you may need to submit a renewal request before the current year expires.
Annual CoS allocation renewal
Some sponsors will receive an automated reminder email from the Home Office to renew your CoS allocation.
If you have received the reminder email, you must take the necessary action. You must submit a request for renewal of annual CoS allocation from the SMS. If you don’t do anything it may lead your organisation to pay extra fees, slow down in-country and overseas candidate recruitment, revocation or expiry of sponsor licence or even pay a £20,000 penalty fee.
How can we help?
At WorkPermitCloud Limited, we have a dedicated team to assist you with the CoS allocation process, we also specialise in the sponsorship application process. We offer professional immigration advice regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). Our Founder and Managing Director Md Lutfur Rahman (FCILEx) has more than 20 years of experience in immigration services.
We can help with:
- Request for the annual allocation
- Process ‘Defined / Undefined’ CoS
- Correspondence with the Home Office
- Assist the client with the Sponsor Management System (SMS)
- Facilitate correct fees payment
- Assign CoS
If you have any questions in relation to the CoS, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org