Certificate of Sponsorship

The UK offers several Certificate of Sponsorship  for overseas workers. These visa routes aim to bring employees on a short-term or long-term basis to their UK branches. The aim of these visa routes is to simplify the process of hiring talent from outside the UK.
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Types of Certificate of Sponsorship

Two types of CoS can be issued for visa applicants applying in the T5, ICT, and Skilled Worker visa categories. These include the following: defined Certificates of Sponsorship, and undefined Certificates of Sponsorship.

The defined CoS is issued for individuals applying through the Skilled Worker Visa route. This type of CoS was previously known as a ‘restricted’ CoS. New changes to the immigration rules in 2020 renamed it as ‘defined CoS.’

A UK sponsor must use the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) to issue a defined CoS. The sponsor can access the SMS after its licence is confirmed. It usually takes only a day for the UKVI to approve a sponsor’s request for a defined CoS. Once approved, the CoS appears as available in the SMS upon which the sponsor can assign it to the applicant.

An undefined CoS is issued for Skilled Worker Visa applications for employees already based in the UK. It is also issued for other visa categories. A UK sponsor must provide an estimate of the number of undefined CoS it needs yearly when it applied for a license. If the sponsor uses up all its CoS, it can apply for an additional allocation.

If you are not sure about the type of CoS you need for your visa application, our hiring foreign workers visa solicitors can help. You can consult an immigration lawyer at our law firm to understand which type of CoS best suits your case.

Rights and Restrictions

The Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) you are issued by a licensed sponsor details the nature of your job in the UK. You will mostly be required to focus on this particular job if you are issued a visa and come to the UK.

Depending on your CoS, you can perform the following activities:

  • Receive training
  • Participate in work experience
  • Undertake research
  • Join a fellowship
  • Take part in an Overseas Government Language Programme

In addition to your CoS-specific job, you can also perform other activities that are not listed on your CoS. These include studying or taking on a second job that is part-time. This second job must not be a permanent job placement and can’t be more than 20 hours per week.

You can consult the Government Authorised Exchange Visa solicitors at our law firm to see what you can or can’t do on your visa. Our immigration lawyers will offer you tailored advice depending on the specifics of your CoS.

Why Do You Need a CoS?

You need a CoS to apply for a Skilled Worker Visa or a Temporary Worker Visa.

The Certificate of Sponsorship is a confirmation that a UK-based licensed sponsor has made you a formal job offer. It also confirms that the details of this job offer comply with the requirements for the visa category in which you are applying.

You can seek a CoS only after you have received a job offer. The sponsor issuing your certificate must also comply with specific eligibility requirements.

A Certificate of Sponsorship solicitor can help ensure that you and your employer fully understand all the requirements for a valid CoS. With the help of our hiring foreign workers visa solicitors, you can make sure that your CoS will help you with your visa application.

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Who Can Issue a Certificate of Sponsorship?

Any business or organisation based in the UK can issue a CoS as long as it has the status of a licensed sponsor. Your UK sponsor is also the employer offering you the job for which you get a CoS.

The sponsor must meet stringent requirements before it can issue the CoS. These include the following:

  • The sponsor must be licensed and listed as an A-rated entity on the Home Office’s list
  • The sponsor must have permission to hire overseas workers for eligible UK jobs
  • The sponsor’s permission to hire overseas workers must be for the specific area or industry for which it is issuing the CoS
  • The job for which the CoS is issued must meet the minimum skill level requirements

Our hiring foreign workers visa solicitors can help you and your UK sponsor ensure that the CoS issued for your visa applicant lists all the required details. With the help of an immigration lawyer at our law firm, you can ensure that your CoS is free from any errors that can cause rejection of CoS or refusal of the visa.

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Details Included on a CoS

The CoS lists important details that are related to you, your financial obligations, and your intended job in the UK. These include the following:

  • Personal Details. Your personal information such as your name and contact details must be included on the CoS. These details must match the details stated on your passport.
  • Work Details. This is the most important part of the CoS. The certificate must note the start and end date of your intended role in the UK. It must also list the specific job for which you are applying the visa as well as the occupation code for that job.
  • Job Details. In addition to the work details mentioned above, the CoS must mention other details relevant to your intended job such as the expected number of hours and the annual salary being offered by your employer. This salary must meet the threshold minimum for your particular occupation code.
  • Financial Details. For most visas, you are required to prove that you have a specific amount of funds to support yourself once you are in the UK. Your UK sponsor can shoulder this obligation instead. If that is the case, the employer must note this on the CoS and also provide proof of the availability of these cash funds.

You may also need to include other details on your CoS. A Certificate of Sponsorship solicitor at our law firm can guide you on the exact details that should go on the certificate. The guidance of an immigration lawyer can be critical in helping you avoid mistakes that can jeopardise your CoS and result in a visa refusal.

Get in touch with our expert Certificate of Sponsorship Solicitors today.

How Much Does a CoS Cost?

The cost of issuing a CoS for an ICT worker or a Skilled Worker is £199. The same fee is applicable if the CoS is being issued for an International Sportsperson for a visa duration of over 12 months. If the International Sportsperson CoS has a duration of 12 months or less, the certificate fee is £21.

For Certificates of Sponsorship issued for all Temporary Worker visas, the cost per certificate is £21.

If the applicant intending to take an intended job in the UK is from the following countries, the UK sponsor doesn’t need to pay any fee for the certificate:

TurkeyDenmarkItalyNorth Macedonia
SwedenCzech RepublicIrelandGermany
SpainRepublic of CyprusIceland 

The Duration of a Certificate of Sponsorship

A CoS is typically valid for 3 months unless the issuing UK sponsor or the Home Office suspends it. This means that even if you receive a valid CoS, you must submit your visa application within 3 months of receiving it.

If you file for a visa more than 3 months after your CoS was issued, the Home Office will turn down your application. You may then have to seek a new CoS from your UK sponsor.

It is important to note that you can’t apply for a new CoS while you have a live CoS that hasn’t expired. If you want to seek a CoS from a different employer, you must first ask the employer who issued your previous CoS to cancel it. In any case, the CoS will expire after three months have passed.