Certificate of Sponsorship

A Certificate of Sponsorship must be assigned by a sponsor licence holder to every prospective foreign employee before the individual can apply for a Tier 2 visa. There are two different classes of CoS, and employers must ensure that in each instance, they are using the relevant type of CoS in the correct way.

Do you need help with a Certificate of Sponsorship?

Selecting the correct Certificate of Sponsorship

Unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship will be granted as a fixed allocation on a yearly basis as part of your sponsor licence. They are to be assigned to new foreign employees with a salary of more than £155,300; those switching to Tier 2; and Tier 2 visa extensions.

Individuals must then apply for Tier 2 clearance within three months of receiving the CoS.

Restricted CoS are intended for new employees applying from outside the UK to enter under a Tier 2 (General) visa and who will be earning under £155,300 per annum, and individual dependants of Tier 4 students applying from the UK wishing to switch to a Tier 2 (General) visa.

There is an annual restriction in place on the number of migrant workers admitted to the UK from outside the EU under a Tier 2 visa on restricted CoS.

UKVI review all applications for restricted CoS monthly, based on the highest points scored.

There are no guarantees if and when restricted CoS applications will be approved.

If a CoS is granted, the employer assigns the CoS to the individual, who can then use the reference number to apply to the Home Office for entry permission.

Any restricted CoS unallocated after three months will be automatically returned to UKVI for reallocation.


How we can help

Before a foreign worker can apply for a Tier 2 visa, they must first be assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship from their prospective employer. But there are strict conditions and timings for assigning the CoS, which employers must comply with.

For employers, this means understanding from the start of your licence how you will use the two different types of Certificates, so that you can plan accordingly and ensure your recruitment needs can be met throughout the four-year licence period.

DavidsonMorris has the experience to advise on all aspects of sponsor licence management and use of Certificates of Sponsorship to ensure compliance with your sponsor licence duties.

Do you need help with a Certificate of Sponsorship?

Featured Videos

What is a Certificate of Sponsorship?

What are the different types of Certificate of Sponsorship?

Why employers should support sponsored workers with Home Office applications

Why choose DavidsonMorris?

We are a team of immigration lawyers and former Home Office employees, with an established reputation for supporting employers and HR professionals on all aspects of Tier 2 sponsor licence applications.

We are highly experienced in all the document and evidentiary requirements vital to a prompt and stress-free sponsor application.

Certificate of Sponsorship Articles


Before a UK company can employ a foreign worker, they must first apply for a sponsor licence, and then assign a Certificate of Sponsorship for the applicant to apply for their Tier 2 visa.

The Home Office uses the sponsor licence application process to ensure your organisation is genuine in its need and motivation to hire from overseas. Here are some key sponsor licence guidance tips for employers looking to make a sponsor licence application.

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What are Restricted and Unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship?

Employers and their prospective foreign workers need to understand which class of CoS is to be assigned before the individual can apply for their Tier 2 visa.

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After 4 years, you will be required to apply to renew your sponsor licence, when your HR systems and processes will be scrutinised by the Home Office.

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You should expect to receive a Home Office visit as part of a sponsor licence renewal. They can be daunting, making early preparation essential.

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Immigration audit helps as part of your sponsor licence application or renewal preparation to you meet the duties of a sponsor licence holder.

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Sponsor licence holders must comply with Home Office requirements through effective HR systems and processes.

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For your organisation to hire skilled migrant workers, you must first apply to the Home Office for a sponsor licence.

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