The Process of Applying for a Defined Certificate of Sponsorship

The Process of Applying for a Defined Certificate of Sponsorship

A certificate of sponsorship (CoS) is an electronic document with a unique reference number which is issued by the employer of the worker to certify that they meet the requirements under the Skilled Worker Visa. The CoS plays a central role in the worker’s Skilled Worker Visa application because the worker will need to use the unique reference number given in the CoS to make their application. 

There are two types of CoS, defined and undefined CoS (previously known as restricted and unrestricted CoS), which have different uses. Defined CoS are used for workers applying for entry clearance from outside the UK. In order to assign a defined CoS, the sponsor must hold an A-rated sponsorship licence. Undefined CoS are used for workers switching to the Skilled Worker Visa from inside the UK.

What is the process of applying for a defined CoS?

Before an employer can sponsor a migrant, they will need to request and assign the defined CoS using the Sponsorship Management System (SMS). Unfortunately, there is no priority service available for defined CoS applications. The fee to assign a defined CoS is £199 and the employer will also have to pay the Immigration Skills Charge (£364 (per year for small or charitable organisations) or £1,000 (per year for large organisations). 

Once the defined CoS has been granted by the Home Office, the CoS can be assigned to the worker. Unlike an undefined CoS, there is no annual allocation for a defined CoS and the sponsor must make requests to the Home Office on an individual basis. The CoS is only valid for 3 months so it must be used for the worker’s Skilled Worker visa application within this timeframe. Notably, once the defined CoS has been assigned to a worker, it cannot be transferred to another worker. 

A decision on a request for a defined CoS is usually provided within 1 working day but can take 10-15 working days or longer if the Home Office makes a request for further information.

The government guidance sets out the exact steps for applying for a defined CoS using the SMS.

How can you avoid or mitigate delays?

As previously stated, it may take the Home Office longer to process a request for a defined CoS if they need to carry out further checks on the information provided. 

There are several steps you can take as an employer to avoid or mitigate any delays in the processing of your request for a defined CoS:

  • Check the information provided for any errors: It is important to ensure that the application form has been completed accurately because any errors could result in a rejection of the request for the defined CoS or a refusal of the Skilled Worker Visa later on in the line. 
  • Be prepared for a request for further information: The Home Office may request further information about the role, the recruitment process, or the candidate so it is important that sponsors are prepared for this. It is advised that you regularly check your junk mail for any correspondence from the Home Office so you don’t miss any important emails or deadlines. If a request for further information is made, the Home Office will give you a timeframe to provide this information. It is important that you follow this deadline or your application will be rejected. 
  • Request the defined CoS as soon as possible: It is important that you request the defined CoS as soon as possible in case there are delays or the Home Office requests further information. This will ensure that the worker can be onboarded at the organisation within the required timeframe. 

How can NA Law Solicitors help?

NA Law Solicitors have successfully helped a significant number of companies apply for a defined CoS. In addition, we have extensive experience applying for sponsorship licences and making Skilled Worker Visa applications. 

If you require our assistance in applying for a defined CoS or would like advice on sponsorship licence management, please contact us or call us on 0203 5245439 for a friendly chat with one of our expert immigration solicitors.

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