Sponsors are granted an allocation of unrestricted certificates of sponsorship each year and these cover the period from April of that year until April of the following year.
In some cases the Home Office allocates these automatically. However, those sponsors who are not subject to automatic allocation (where the sponsor is usually allocated the same number of unrestricted certificates of sponsorship (‘CoS’) as it used last year) should urgently apply for an allocation of 'unrestricted' CoS to be used during the period from 6 April 2018 - 5 April 2019.
If granted, these will then sit on the sponsor licence ready to assign to any migrant workers who need them during the year and the sponsor will not then need to apply for a CoS each time one is needed. CoS planning has become particularly important in recent years as the Home Office can take up to 18 weeks to process a request for an unrestricted CoS if the sponsor has used up its allocation. Sponsors can now use the priority service but this costs £200 per request.
Sponsors should consider how many unrestricted CoS they may need during the next CoS allocation year and contact the Home Office via the sponsorship migrant system to request these. Reasons will need to be given to justify the request.
Unrestricted certificates can be issued in the following cases only:
- Migrant workers currently sponsored by that employer under Tier 2, whose leave will expire during the relevant period and who will need to apply to extend their leave to remain;
- Migrant workers based overseas who you wish to bring to the UK under Tier 2 (General) who will be paid over £159,600 per annum (but this threshold may increase in the near future);
- Migrant workers you wish to recruit and sponsor under Tier 2 (General) who have recently completed a degree at a UK university and who still have a valid student visa (under Tier 4);
- Migrants workers who will be sponsored under Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) because they are transferring from an overseas group company to the UK company;
- Migrant workers you wish to recruit and sponsor in the UK who are currently working for another sponsor in the UK under Tier 2 (General) or (Intra-Company Transfer) under the rules in place before 6 April 2011; and
- Migrant workers you wish to recruit and sponsor who are currently in the UK under another immigration category from which they can switch into Tier 2.
The sponsor will need to apply for a ‘restricted’ certificate of sponsorship to sponsor and employ all other migrants in the UK.
We also strongly recommend that you log onto the Sponsorship Management System after 6 April 2018 to check how many CoS have been allocated. If it is clear that you have not been allocated enough you should consider applying for more as soon as possible.
Please contact a member of the Immigration team if you would like assistance with this.