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Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship

Our immigration lawyers are experienced in ensuring that sponsorship licence holders are able to apply for additional certificate of sponsorship to ensure their hiring needs are met.

What is a certificate of sponsorship?

Also known as a COS, In its simplest sense a certificate of sponsorship is he reference number that is put on an individual’s Visa application, which confirms to the Home Office that the individual is actually being sponsored by a licensed employer.

It is also the method by which the Home Office can control how many foreign workers a license holder can sponsor in any given year.

As leading immigration solicitors are aware, once a company receives a license to hire foreign workers, the Home Office can then decide how many workers it wishes to allow a company to have for that year. This takes into the account that an international bank and a 2 man tech start-up will have very different needs.

Where does the COS fit into the whole sponsorship process?

This requires a step back to look over the whole process stage by stage:

1. Resident Labour Market Test

The company will need to identify the need for a specific job role in order to commence the process. If the prospective employee is in the UK on a Tier 2 General visa, the requirement that the company must have carried out what the Home Office calls the ‘resident labour market test’ (RLMT), which consists of two job advertisements for the intended position for 28 days is necessary.

Westkin can assist with project management of the advertisements.

Please note that if the employee is in the UK on a Tier 4 Student Visa, on the Shortage Occupation List or a high earner, they shall be exempt from this requirement. There are other exemptions which our lawyers can advise upon.

2. Sponsorship Licence

The company must attain a sponsorship licence. This is an application which is submitted online and for which a number of supporting documents are required, to ensure the organisation is eligible to hold a sponsorship licence.

As part of our services, we will complete all necessary forms, prepare them for submission, advise you as to the most appropriate supporting documents, and ensure that these are all submitted. Although not strictly necessary, we insist, in addition, on preparing a detailed cover letter, explaining the application and referring to the supporting documents in relation to the rules and guidance.

Just to give you an idea of the timescales involved, we estimate at the time of writing that it should take 2 – 8 weeks for the application to be processed by the Home Office. Please note the reason the processing times vary is that the Home Office ensure they are protected with any complex issues and processing times.

3. Certificate of Sponsorship

Only then comes the CoS, Once the firm has been registered as a licenced sponsor, we must apply for a ‘restricted’ or ‘unrestricted’ Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) and then assign it to the employee.

Once stage 1 & 2 is completed we shall have to apply for a CoS for the prospective employee. In our experience, it should take the Home Office a few weeks to issue the CoS, at the time of writing.

Please note that if required we can apply for the CoS via the emergency route if any issues arise, however, this is typically applied by us with the initial Licence application.

Please also note the introduction of the government skill set fee, which is payable at this stage.

4. Tier 2 visa application

Once the CoS has been issued, the prospective employee will then need to make the Tier 2 General Visa application. We will of course advise them and prepare the entire visa application.

This stage shall need to be discussed in more details as the job role discussed shall require the employee to have certain accolades and potential qualifications. Thus, we shall need to discuss the potential job roles that will apply to you – prior to initiating the process of the application.

As discussed, please find below the link to the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Codes that are listed by the UKVI, please note that the job role that we select shall have to at minimum NQF Level 6 or above and this can be found at the Immigration Rules Appendix J Table 2: codes of practice for skilled work.


What are examples of CoS sponsorship allocations?

Lets assume a digitech firm wishes to bring in 3 software engineers from India. They will then need to have 3 CoS certificates of sponsorship. If they already have these certificates attached to their licence then they can simply go ahead and assign each certificate of sponsorship COS,  to each migrant worker they wish to hire.

If an employers’ staffing requirements change during the year, then a new certificate of sponsorship can be applied for. Reasons normally have to be given and then the home office will assess those reasons. It is usually good to have an immigration solicitor prepare these requests as they can be turned down, particularly in the recent climate where the government remains committed to reducing net migration.

Dangers of misusing the CoS that have been issued to you.

Further, cos sponsorship allocations can reduced in any given year or if the Home Office believe the CoS sponsorship rules and regulations, which can be complex, are being incorrectly used.

Lawyers will also advise that certificates of sponsorship can be restricted or unrestricted – those that are restricted Will often have greater hurdles before they can be used inside the UK. The most common area where restricted certificates of sponsorship are used are in and around applications from outside the UK.

Obtaining a sponsorship certificate for roles that are on the shortage occupation list or where the individual is already in the UK as a student Is usually much easier but still, we believe, requires the use of a lawyer.

If you have any questions about certificates and CoS sponsorship or you are interested in hiring foreign worker please contact our leading teams today on 0207 118 4546 or email us direct on info@westkin.com

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