UK Visa Certificate of Sponsorship | CoS-2024

certificate of sponsorship

A certificate of sponsorship (CoS) is a document issued by an employer in the United Kingdom to a foreign worker they wish to hire under the Tier 2 or Tier 5 visa categories of the UK’s Points-Based System. It confirms that the job offer is genuine and meets the necessary requirements set by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). The certificate contains information about the job, the applicant, and the employer, and serves as evidence that the worker is eligible to apply for a visa to work in the UK.

Application Process for CoS

The application process for obtaining a CoS involves several steps. The sponsoring employer initiates the process by applying for the CoS on behalf of the sponsored individual through the Sponsor Management System (SMS) online portal.

Once the CoS is assigned, the sponsored individual can proceed with their visa application, providing the CoS reference number as part of the documentation.

Types of Certificate of Sponsorship

In the context of immigration and employment sponsorship in the United Kingdom, there are several types of Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) that employers can issue to prospective employees. Each type corresponds to a specific immigration category or visa route. Here are the main types:

Tier 2 (General) CoS: This type of certificate of sponsorship is for skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland who have a job offer in the UK. It’s part of the Tier 2 (General) visa route, which is commonly used by employers to sponsor skilled workers to fill a job vacancy that cannot be filled by settled workers.

Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) CoS: This CoS is for employees of multinational companies who are being transferred to a UK branch of the same company. There are different subcategories within this route, such as Long-Term Staff, Short-Term Staff, Graduate Trainee, and Skills Transfer.

Tier 5 Temporary Worker CoS: This type of CoS is for individuals coming to the UK for a short-term role or for specific temporary purposes under the Tier 5 visa category. It includes subcategories such as Creative and Sporting, Charity Worker, Religious Worker, Government Authorized Exchange, and International Agreement.

Tier 4 Student CoS: This CoS is for students coming to the UK for their education under the Tier 4 (General) student visa route. It is issued by educational institutions that are licensed as sponsors.

Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) CoS: This certificate of sponsorship is for ministers of religion who have been offered a job within a faith community in the UK.

Tier 2 (Sportsperson) CoS: Certificate of sponsorship is for elite athletes and coaches who have been offered a job in a sports-related role in the UK.

These are the main types of Certificates of Sponsorship used in the UK immigration system. Each type corresponds to a specific visa category and has its own eligibility criteria and requirements.

Eligibility Criteria for Obtaining a CoS

A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is required for skilled workers who wish to come to the UK under the Tier 2 (General) visa route or other similar visas. The certificate of sponsorship is issued by an employer who is licensed to sponsor migrants under the UK’s points-based immigration system. To obtain a CoS, both the employer and the prospective employee must meet certain eligibility criteria:

Employee’s Eligibility:

  • The prospective employee must have received a valid job offer from a licensed sponsor in the UK.
  • They must meet the skill and salary requirements for the specific job role they are being sponsored for. This typically means that the job must be at or above a certain skill level and salary threshold.
  • They must demonstrate proficiency in the English language, either by passing an approved English language test or by being a national of a majority English-speaking country.
  • The employee may need to provide evidence of their qualifications or professional credentials relevant to the job role.

Other Requirements:

  • The employer may need to show that they have conducted a genuine Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) in certain cases. This involves advertising the job role to settled workers in the UK before offering it to a migrant worker.
  • Some job roles may be exempt from the RLMT requirement, such as those listed on the Shortage Occupation List or where the salary exceeds a certain threshold.

Immigration Rules:

  • The prospective employee must meet the requirements of the UK’s immigration rules, including any relevant health and character requirements.

Employer’s Eligibility:

  • The employer must be a registered sponsor with a valid sponsor license issued by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).
  • They must comply with the duties and responsibilities of being a sponsor, including record-keeping and reporting duties.
  • The employer must have a genuine need for the specific job role that the migrant worker is being sponsored for.
certificate of sponsorship

Duration and Renewal of CoS

The duration of a CoS varies depending on the type of visa and the specific circumstances of the employment. In most cases, CoS can be valid for up to five years, after which it may be renewed if necessary.

Implications of CoS on Visa Application

Having a valid CoS significantly increases the chances of a successful visa application. It demonstrates to the immigration authorities that the individual has secured genuine employment in the UK and has the necessary sponsorship from a licensed employer.

Challenges and Common Pitfalls in Obtaining CoS

Obtaining a CoS can be a complex process, and there are several challenges and common pitfalls that applicants may encounter. These include issues related to eligibility criteria, documentation requirements, and processing delays.

Importance of Compliance with CoS Regulations

Compliance with CoS regulations is paramount for both sponsors and sponsored individuals. Failure to adhere to the terms and conditions outlined in the CoS can have serious consequences, including revocation of the sponsorship license and potential deportation.

Alternatives to Certificate of Sponsorship

While the CoS is the primary route for sponsored employment in the UK, there are alternative options available, such as the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa and the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme, depending on individual circumstances and eligibility criteria.

Impact of Brexit on certificate of sponsorship

The UK’s departure from the European Union (EU), commonly known as Brexit, has brought about changes to the immigration system, including the CoS process. It is essential for both employers and prospective employees to stay updated on any new regulations and requirements.

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The Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is a vital document for non-EEA nationals seeking employment opportunities in the UK. Understanding the purpose, types, application process, and associated responsibilities is essential for a smooth transition into the UK workforce.