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Employers with Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) are being told to renew them ahead of April to avoid losing the current ones they have.
Any unrestricted CoS that remains unused will automatically lapse on 5 April. It is therefore important that employers check whether they need to renew for the year 2019/2020.
A CoS is an electronic record that is assigned to each foreign worker an employer has. It is given by an employer that holds a Sponsor Licence. Once it has been issued, the employee can then make their Tier 2 Visa application.
Two types of CoS are issued: restricted and unrestricted. A restricted CoS is limited to just 20,700 per year. An unrestricted CoS can be issued many times over.
You will need a restricted Certificate of Sponsorship if you want to employ someone who is outside the UK. That’s true unless the role you’re offering has an annual salary of more than £159,600 or is a job which promotes inward investment.
The same is true for an unrestricted CoS except these are primarily used to employ people who are already based in the UK and want to switch to a Tier 2 Visa.
But each year these expire, and the Home Office resets the number they hand out back to zero. It means if you wish to request a renewal, it must be done as soon as possible.
You will need to renew if you intend to hire staff on a temporary basis to work in the UK who are originally based abroad; if you wish to hire UK-based migrants who are new to the business; and if you already have migrant staff who work for you who have been within the last year, then you will need to extend their stay so they can continue to work for you.
It is important that employers carry out this process before the 5 April deadline. This is because the UK Visa and Immigration Department cannot guarantee renewal after this date.
They should provide as much information as possible when applying to the Home Office. This is so they can allocate the correct and justifiable number of certificates. It is also important to check that the correct number of certificates has been requested and that you are paying the correct fee. Failure to do either of these things could result in more time lost or extra payments further down the track to correct them.
If you don’t know exactly how many CoS you will need, then you will need to carry out an in-house assessment. This should then ensure you’re prepared to tell the Home Office how many you think you will need, drawing on your conclusions. It is best to be as specific as possible: give each prospective employees’ name and any assignment details.
When the Home Office has made a decision, you can then check how many CoS have been allocated to you. To do this, you will need to login to your Sponsorship Management System. And you can do so from the 6 April.
The Immigration Advice Service can help with any CoS renewal. You may be wondering: where can I find a good immigration lawyer? Well, our expert team can guide you through the process, and make sure you’re submitting the best application you can. You can give us a call on 0333 363 8577 or make an enquiry online.