UK Certificate of Sponsorship

UK Certificate of Sponsorship: All You Need to Know

In today’s interconnected global economy, businesses seek talent worldwide to enhance growth. The United Kingdom, with its diverse workforce, is a favored destination for skilled professionals seeking exciting opportunities. To work legally in the UK under a visa, one crucial document is required: the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). This guide aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the UK CoS, including its significance, acquisition process, types, and more.

A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is an electronic document that confirms that a licensed UK employer has offered a job to a non-EEA citizen. Employers must assign a CoS to each foreign worker they hire. There are two types of CoS: defined and undefined. Defined CoS are for workers applying from outside the UK, while undefined CoS are for workers already in the UK or applying for a different visa category. The cost of assigning a CoS varies based on the type of sponsor license held by the employer and the duration of the assignment.

What is the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)?

A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is a virtual document issued by a licensed UK employer to a non-EEA citizen they intend to employ. It is a key part of the employee’s application for permission to come to or stay in the UK. There are two types of CoS: Defined and Undefined. Defined CoS are for workers applying from outside the UK, while Undefined CoS are for in-country applications. A CoS is valid for three months from the date of issue and employers are responsible for the employee’s actions. The cost of assigning a CoS varies based on the sponsor’s license type and the duration of the assignment.

To apply for a Defined CoS, employers must prove they actively searched for suitable candidates in the UK but couldn’t find a match. The application process typically takes one working day. Employers must provide specific details like job description, salary, and contact information. Once issued, a Defined CoS must be assigned within three months. Failure to do so will require starting the process again.

Employers can apply for Undefined CoS if they are already in the UK or applying under other routes. Sponsors estimate their yearly need for CoS, with any unused ones expiring annually. The application process can take up to 18 weeks unless a priority service is used. Employers must comply with strict rules when assigning CoS to avoid penalties[.

Who Needs a Certificate of Sponsorship?

Anyone intending to work in the UK under a work visa requires a CoS, except for certain groups:

  • Irish citizens
  • Individuals with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • Those with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

Obtaining a Certificate of Sponsorship

The process involves several steps, starting with the employer:

  • Eligibility Check: Ensure the business meets sponsor eligibility criteria.
  • Job Suitability Check: Assess if the role qualifies for sponsorship under the chosen visa route.
  • Type of License: Choose between Worker and Temporary Worker License.
  • Sponsorship Management System (SMS): Create and manage CoS through SMS.

Types of the Certificate of Sponsorship

There are two primary types:

  1. Defined CoS: For workers applying from outside the UK.
  2. Undefined CoS: For workers applying from within the UK.

Annual CoS Allocation

Employers specify the number of undefined certificates for each route they’re applying for. An annual allocation request is made for subsequent CoS years, with each CoS valid for one year.

Switching Jobs and CoS

Switching jobs requires a new CoS, which must be used within three months. The existing CoS must be removed before a new one is assigned.

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Costs and Exemptions

The Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is a virtual document that UK employers must assign to foreign workers they plan to hire. The cost of issuing a CoS depends on the type of sponsor license held by the employer and the duration of the assignment. For Skilled Worker, T2 MOR, and GBM Senior or Specialist workers, the CoS fee is £239 per CoS. For small or charitable organizations, the Immigration Skills Charge is £364 per year, while for medium or large organizations, it is £1,000 per year. Additionally, there is a premium service available for medium or large organizations, which costs £25,000 annually for medium or large organizations and £8,000 annually for small or charitable sponsors.

Processing Time

Typically, it takes one working day for CoS approval, but additional information may prolong the process.

The Certificate of Sponsorship is essential for foreign workers in the UK. Understanding its types, eligibility, and acquisition process is crucial. Staying informed about regulations ensures a smooth visa application process, benefiting both employers and employees. With the right guidance, the UK offers exciting opportunities for skilled professionals. Stay informed, follow the process diligently, and unlock the doors to success in the United Kingdom.