The Home Office has confirmed that the Sponsor Management System (SMS) and Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) service will be suspended as it makes essential updates to its systems. This is in advance of the launch of the new immigration system work routes on 1 December 2020.
In a message for sponsors, the Home Office announced that:
“The information below describes the changes that will take place to your sponsor licence on or after Friday 27th November 2020 in preparation for the launch of the new points- based immigration system. Many of these changes will be applied automatically but there may be some actions that you need to take. You will be able to view all these changes on your Sponsorship Management System (SMS) account from 1 December 2020.
System availability and requests in progress:
- We will be making essential updates to our IT systems between 19.00 on Friday 27th November and 09.00 on Tuesday 1st December 2020. This means that you will not have access to your SMS account or the online Sponsor Application form during these times.
- During this period, all saved but incomplete applications to add routes to an existing licence will be deleted and will have to be restarted when access is restored. Any Tier 2 General or Intra Company Transfer (ICT) Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) with a status of ‘ready to go’ will be reverted to a status of ‘work in progress’ and you will not be able to assign them. Tier 2 General or ICT CoS with status of ‘assigned’ or ‘used’ will not be affected.
- We strongly advise you to complete any transactions prior to this period. If your licence is due to expire between the 27th November and 2nd December 2020 you should make your application to renew your licence before the expiry date. If you do not make your application before this date, your licence will be extended for a temporary period of 7 calendar days. You must apply to renew your licence within this temporary extension period, or it will lapse.
Licence and CoS allocation transition:
- If you currently hold a licence in Tier 2 General and/or ICT, your licence details will be automatically updated on 27 November 2020 so that you are licensed in the Skilled Worker and/or the Intra-Company routes and you will retain your current licence expiry date.
- Your annual allocation of Tier 2 General and/or ICT CoS will also be automatically updated to a Skilled Worker and/or Intra-Company routes allocation and any unassigned CoS will be transferred over. The new allocations will have the same expiry date as the respective previous allocations.
- If you have a request in-progress to increase or renew your annual allocation Tier 2 General and/or ICT CoS, the request will be considered and, if appropriate, granted under the new routes.
- From 1 December 2020 the CoS categories on the SMS will be updated and any CoS you assign from this date will be in the new category.
Transitional arrangements for Tier 2 General and ICT CoS and RCoS:
- Transitional arrangements for unused Tier 2 General and ICT CoS, including Restricted CoS (RCoS) and applications for RCoS that are undecided can be found in ‘Sponsor a Skilled Worker’ and ‘Sponsor an Intra-Company Worker’, available here.
- We would encourage you to take the action outlined to ‘upgrade’ your Tier 2 General/ICT CoS as you assign them. This will help to minimise delays to the consideration of your workers’ application for entry clearance or permission to stay.”
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