April’s deadline for the renewal of your annual unrestricted cos allocation is fast approaching!

If you are the sponsor of skilled foreign workers, now is the time to renew your allocation of unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship (Cos). Current allocations will expire on 6 April this year and any unused certificates will be withdrawn from use.

“We advise employers to look ahead at their recruitment needs for 2017 and to plan accordingly.”

some UK sponsors will receive an automatic renewal of their Cos allowance based on the number of Cos which were assigned during the previous year, the Home Office has in previous years chosen to automatically reset allocations for many employers to zero. If you therefore require a specific number of unrestricted Cos over the coming year, a renewal request should be submitted to the Home Office as soon as possible.

A Certificate of Sponsorship is an electronic document necessary to the recruitment of all Tier 2 migrant employees, with both ‘restricted’ and ‘unrestricted’ being made available to employers each year. A limited number of ‘restricted’ CoS are up for grabs by Tier 2 migrants and their employers on a monthly basis, whilst there is no limit to the number of ‘unrestricted’ CoS which are available for allocation to Tier 2 sponsors each year in April.

As a sponsor you should renew your annual Cos allocation if you:

  • Intend to sponsor migrants from inside the UK who are new to your organisation;
  • maintain a sponsor licence covering the Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer (ICT) visa route and intend to temporarily transfer existing staff to a UK office from overseas;
  • Currently employ migrant staff who will be required to extend their sponsored permission to work in the UK within the next 12 months in order to continue in their employment with you.

Although sponsors are able to submit their renewal beyond April’s deadline, UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) will not guarantee a processing time for considering new allocation requests after this date.

A delayed renewal request is likely to cause much disruption to both the sponsor and assignee, as there is a risk that the company could receive a zero allocation of CoS the sponsor would consequently be unable to sponsor migrant employees until a renewal request had been filed and considered by the authorities.

All sponsors consider the potential number of Cos required over the forthcoming year and file a request for a new allocation well ahead of April’s deadline.

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