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A Guide on the Undefined COS

If you’re looking to hire foreign nationals from within the UK to work for you, then you will have to apply for an Undefined Certificate of Sponsorship.

For immediate assistance with your sponsor licence situation, call our immigration advisors today at 0333 305 9375. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.


What is an Undefined Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)?

Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is an electronic record that allows non-UK workers to apply for a visa to work in the UK. It is issued by the employers and defines the role, salary and responsibilities of the position in question.

The Undefined Certificates of Sponsorships are for skilled workers applying from inside the UK, and applicants on all other visas.

When you apply for a sponsor licence for undefined certificates, the Home Office will ask you to estimate how many Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) you will need for Workers and Temporary Workers during the first year.

The main purpose of a CoS is to ensure that foreign nationals who want to work in the United Kingdom are not taking away jobs from UK citizens or other authorised workers. It also ensures that these individuals do not pose any threat to national security or public safety.

Eligibility for the Undefined CoS

In order to assign certificates of sponsorship to foreign workers, you must have an A-rated sponsor licence.

If your A-rating is downgraded to a B-rating because you aren’t meeting your sponsor responsibilities, you won’t be able to issue new certificates. You must make improvements and upgrade back to an A-rating to begin issuing new CoS again.

If you have a B-rating, you can still issue certificates to workers who are already employed by you and who want to extend their permission to stay.

Undefined CoS Annual Allocation

Once you have been approved for your licence application, you will be notified by UKVI of your annual CoS allocation for the year.

Your CoS application will be processed based on multiple factors, such as the number of workers in your organisation, the kind of business you are engaged in, how long you have been in business and the extent of your business activities.

Once your CoS allocation is decided by the Home Office, it will be allocated to your sponsorship management system account, after which you will have 12 months to assign them to hire workers. At the end of each CoS year, any CoS you haven’t used will be removed from your SMS account. You won’t be able to carry over any unused CoS to the next CoS year.

You can also request additional allocations during the course of the year if you think you will run out of CoS before the end of the year.

Need help obtaining an Undefined Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)? Our expert immigration lawyers are here to assist you.

How to Create and Assign an Undefined Certificate of Sponsorship?

Here’s how to create a new CoS and assign it within your sponsorship management system (SMS) while processing Worker or Temporary Worker visas:

  • Login to your SMS account as a Level 1 or Level 2 user
  • Go to the Workers screen, click on Create and assign
  • From the Create and assign CoS screen, click on Select the route drop-down menu and select the route you want to create
  • Click Next
  • Select the radio button next to Create a new single certificate
  • Enter the worker’s personal and job-related details, then click Save
  • Select Assign
  • Ensure the entered details are correct
  • Confirm the declaration and tick to indicate your agreement with the terms and conditions
  • Select Assign CoS
  • Make the payment through the third-party payment portal (Worldpay)

Finally, the Cos will be generated and assigned a unique number so that you can share it with the worker you are hiring.

If you are looking to create an individual CoS based on an existing CoS, you can click on Create new single certificate on an existing certificate in the Create and assign CoS screen.

When you create a new CoS based on an existing person, you may receive a message telling you that a CoS already exists. This means that the person’s details were added earlier to another CoS. This will not stop you from assigning the new CoS.

a woman standing

Cancelling an Issued CoS

You can retrieve a CoS that has not been assigned to anyone yet so you can edit or delete it if needed. Here are the steps to amend or cancel a CoS:

  • Login to your SMS as a Level 1 or Level 2 user
  • In the Workers screen, click on Create and assign
  • Select the route you want to edit
  • Select the existing single CoS
  • Either modify the already populated worker details or delete the entire CoS
  • Confirm your selection

Cost of Issuing Undefined Certificates of Sponsorship

To assign a certificate to a worker, you will have to pay a fee. The cost will depend on the type of licence you have.

The cost of a Worker licence (except for workers on an International Sportsperson visa) is £199 and for a Temporary Worker licence, it is £21.

The cost for an International Sportsperson, who is assigned a certificate of sponsorship for more than 12 months, is £199. The cost for those who are assigned a certificate of sponsorship for 12 months or less is £21.

If you assign a certificate of sponsorship to somebody who is already in the UK on a Skilled Worker category or Senior/Specialist Worker visa, it might be necessary for you to pay the immigration skills charges.

Do you have any questions about cancelling an issued CoS? We would be happy to assist you.

How can IAS help?

Here at IAS, we’re always happy to help you navigate the confusing world of immigration. It can be hard to get your head around, so we’re here to help!

If you are looking to apply for a CoS, our team is here to make the process easier. We’ll help you understand what a CoS is and what it means for your application. We’ll also give you information about how to apply for one, as well as guidance on what happens after the application has been submitted.

Our team is available 24/7 to help you with any questions or concerns that may come up during the process.

To talk to one of our immigration advisors about your sponsor licence or certificate of sponsorship requirements, call us on 0333 305 9375. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.

We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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