Under the Home Office’s Tier 2 Priority Change of Circumstance Service for sponsors, A-rated sponsors are able to apply for faster consideration of certain types of change of circumstance requests by submitting an application via email.
COVID restrictions on Priority Change of Circumstances services
The Priority Change of Circumstances service has reopened following suspension due to COVID-19, albeit on a limited basis.
Current capacity for requests has been reduced to 10 slots per day. Pre-COVID, there was a maximum of 60 priority requests accepted daily.
If fully subscribed, sponsors can apply the next working day.
Working days are classed as Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm. Requests submitted outside of these hours will not be considered.
Requests are processed in chronological order, unless “exceptionally compelling circumstances” apply.
Eligibility for the Priority Change of Circumstance Service
The priority service is only available to A-rated sponsor licence holders and requests that relate to:
- In-year Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) allocation
- Follow-on CoS allocation
- Adding a new Level 1 user
- Changing a Level 1 user
- Replacing the Authorising Officer (AO)
- Amending the AO
- Replacing the Key Contact
- Amending the Key Contact
- Adding a representative
- Amending organisation details – moved to new premises
The Priority Change of Circumstance Service is not available to:
- Premium sponsors, who should instead contact their account manager
- Requests for priority for a Tier 4 case
- Restricted certificates of sponsorship – if the request is for additional certificates of sponsorship – restricted CoS requests will be rejected and the fee will not be refunded
- Requests already in progress or allocated to a caseworker
How long does the Priority Change of Circumstances take?
Under the fast-track service, if requests for the priority service are successful, sponsors can expect applications to be considered within 5 working days.
Cases within 7 calendar days of the published 18 week Service Standard should contact the Home Office again, noting in the subject title the date the request was submitted.
Complex requests or those requiring extra checks may take longer than 5 days.
Sponsors are also reminded to ensure they attach digital copies of all relevant documentation and information to avoid delays or issues with processing.
Note also the Home Office may request in some circumstances request original copies of the supporting documents.
You may be eligible for a refund where consideration is delayed for ‘other reasons’ such as technical difficulties at UKVI.
How much is the Priority Change of Circumstances service?
The Priority service costs £200 per request.
The authorisation code will be supplied when you have paid the fee.
How to apply for the Priority Change of Circumstance Service
To use the service, sponsors should:
- Submit the change of circumstances request on the SMS.
- Email the priority service mailbox Tier2and5PriorityRequests@homeoffice.gov.uk, with a completed priority request form.
- Print the submission sheet if the change relates to replacing the AO or appointing a representative
- Within 5 working days, you can expect an email to your AO email address informing you of the outcome.
- If successful, you will also receive an email with a payment link.
- Pay the fee within 72 hours of the payment email being sent (including weekends), or the priority request will expire and you will need to apply again to be considered.
The service does not guarantee the request will be approved.
Requests to replace an AO require a submission sheet to be sent to the following address:
Tier 2 and 5 Priority Service – Authorisation Code XXX
Sponsor Licensing Unit
PO Box 3468
Requests may not be successful because the daily limit has been reached, the request was submitted outside of the core working hours or the request was not eligible for the service.
If you have not received a response, you can assume the request was not successful.
Duty to Notify Changes in Circumstances
Under the Certificate of Sponsorship, employers and the sponsored employees are under a duty to notify the UKVI of specific changes in circumstances within 10 working days.
Failure to report any changes of circumstances can result in licence downgrading, a suspended or revoked licence or a fine may be issued for failure to comply with the sponsor licence and migrant reporting duties.
We are experienced advisers to sponsor licence holders. Please contact us if you have a question about the new priority service, the change of circumstances notification process in general, or any other query relating to Tier 2 visa management and certificates of sponsorship.
Last updated: 4 November 2020