Recent immigration changes for sponsors - updating and replacing key personnel and renewing annual CoS allocations

Recent immigration changes for sponsors - updating and replacing key personnel and renewing annual CoS allocations

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The Home Office has recently contacted sponsors to let them know that certain requests made via the Sponsor Management System (SMS) to update or replace Key Personnel will now be immediately fulfilled in certain circumstances.

In addition, sponsors who have an annual allocation of Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) will no longer need to apply to renew their annual CoS allocation, subject to certain criteria being met. Instead, their annual CoS allocation will now be granted automatically by the Home Office. The Home Office has introduced these changes with the aim of streamlining the process of maintaining a sponsor licence, enabling sponsors to keep their licence details up to date more easily without having to wait weeks for the Home Office to approve straightforward requests.

Updating and replacing key personnel

From 23 March 2023, the following requests submitted via the SMS will be completed immediately, provided the criteria below are all met:

  • Updating the details of an Authorising Officer, Key Contact, or Level 1 User
  • Updating the sponsor organisation details
  • Replacing an Authorising Officer (the submission sheet and any required supporting evidence will however still need to be sent to the Home Office, usually by email)
  • Replacing a Key Contact
  • Adding new Level 1 Users

The following criteria must all be met for these requests to be fulfilled immediately:

  • The sponsor licence must be fully active
  • The sponsor must be an A rated sponsor
  • The postcode of the address of the new Authorising Officer, Key Contact, or Level 1 User’s address must match either:
    • The postcode of the sponsor’s main organisation or head office address, as listed on the SMS licence summary screen, or
    • The address of a legal representative organisation acting on the sponsor’s behalf (if the Home Office has been informed of this arrangement prior to submitting the request to update or replace Key Personnel). This will also be visible on the licence summary screen.

If all these criteria are not met, the SMS request will be submitted and considered by the Home Office as before.

Importantly, the Home Office will still conduct the required checks on immediately fulfilled requests and sponsors will be contacted if these checks identify anything of concern.

CoS allocation renewals

If a sponsor’s annual CoS allocation expires within three months of the date on which the Home Office contacts the sponsor about the change to the annual CoS allocation process, the sponsor will still need to apply via the SMS for its next annual CoS allocation and should ensure it does so before the current CoS allocation expires. The sponsor will need to provide reasons as to why it needs the CoS it has requested – especially if requesting more CoS than it used in the previous 12 months.

However, sponsors whose annual CoS allocation expires more than three months after the Home Office contacts them and who are A rated, licensed in an eligible route, and have an "active" current annual CoS allocation status will, in the future, receive an automatic renewal of their annual CoS allocation.

The following routes are eligible routes for this automatic renewal of their annual CoS allocation:

  • Skilled Worker (undefined only)
  • GBM - Senior or Specialist Worker
  • GBM - Graduate Trainee
  • GBM - Service Supplier
  • GBM - Secondment Worker
  • Minister of Religion
  • International Sportsperson
  • Charity Worker
  • Creative Worker
  • Government Authorised Exchange
  • International Agreement
  • Religious Worker
  • Scale Up

Sponsors whose annual CoS allocation is set to expire more than three months after the Home Office contacts them will not need to apply to renew their annual CoS allocation. Instead, they will automatically be granted a new annual CoS allocation comprising of the number of CoS they assigned to sponsored workers in the previous 12 months. This means that, if a sponsor did not fully use their previous annual CoS allocation, they will receive a lower CoS allocation for the following year. Sponsors will need to check that their new CoS allocation will be sufficient to cover any new hires who require an undefined CoS as well as any sponsored workers who are extending their leave within the next 12 months. Sponsors will be able to request an increase to their CoS allocation by submitting a "Request CoS allocation increase" request on the SMS and they should ensure they do so in good time as the requests can take several weeks to process.

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