Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)
In order for an individual to make a valid application for permission (also known as a visa) under the Skilled Worker and other sponsored work route, a sponsor must first assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to them.
There are two types of CoS that can be assigned, a defined CoS and an undefined CoS.
Undefined CoS are to be used for:
- those who are already in the UK and who are lawfully able to apply under the Skilled Worker route; and
- for those applying under the other routes, whether in the UK or overseas.
When a sponsor initially applies for a licence, it will be asked to confirm how many CoS are required and may be asked to provide evidence or a detailed explanation as to why the business will need to assign that amount of CoS.
Any CoS that have not been assigned will expire on the 5 April each year. Prior to this time, most sponsors will be asked to anticipate the amount of CoS required for the following year and to submit a request to renew the yearly allocation. Some sponsors may receive an automatic allocation.
If a sponsor fails to submit a request to renew the CoS allocation, it is possible to apply for a new allocation throughout the year. Whilst a priority service is available for sponsors that need a new allocation of CoS within the year, if the priority service is not used, it can take up to 18 weeks for the Home Office to process a request for an increased allocation. It is therefore recommended that if there is a possibility that a CoS will be required, for example if a current sponsored worker’s leave will need to be extended, that sponsors apply for a CoS allocation before April. If a sponsor overestimates its needs, any unused CoS will expire on 5 April each year.
Defined CoS are used by those who are applying from overseas.
Sponsors must make a specific application to the Home Office for a defined CoS. In most cases, the defined CoS will be granted by the Home Office within one working day.
When applying for an defined CoS, the Home Office can request further information regarding the role, how the individual was identified, etc. Sponsors should therefore be prepared to provide information in relation to this.
Once a defined CoS has been awarded, it must be assigned to an individual within three months or it will expire, and the process would need to be completed again.
Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS): How we can help
Our immigration experts are able to provide advice and guidance in relation to applying for and assigning CoS and can provide detailed advice regarding the eligibility requirements for both a defined and undefined CoS.
If your organisation requires legal assistance in this area or would just like to discuss your situation with a member of our team on a no-obligation basis, please contact us.