How to Avoid Delays When Applying for a Set Sponsorship Certificate

Before a foreign national can apply for a visa to work in the UK, they must obtain a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from their employer.

A CoS is not a physical document, but rather takes the form of an electronic record containing a unique number that the worker must use to apply for their visa. Once a CoS has been assigned to a worker, they must use it to apply for their visa within three months.

There are two types of CoS designed for different purposes. If you are sponsoring skilled workers, you need to make sure you understand the difference and assign the correct type to each worker. The two types of certificate are:

  • A Sponsorship certificate set is for skilled workers applying for entry clearance from outside the UK.
  • A Undefined sponsorship certificate is for skilled workers applying for authorization from the UK or workers holding all other visas.

Use of each type of CoS

When you are ready to award a CoS to a skilled worker, the process will be slightly different depending on the type of certificate the worker needs.

If the skilled worker is applying for their visa from the UK and needs a Indefinite CoSyou can issue it immediately as long as you have a certificate available in your annual CoS allocation.

If the skilled worker is applying for their visa from abroad, you must apply for a CoS defined using the online sponsorship management system (SMS). You cannot have an annual CoS allocation set, and sponsors must submit applications to the Home Office on a case-by-case basis.

When you apply, you will need to provide specific details about the role the migrant worker will fill. Once a request has been approved, the defined CoS will appear in your SMS account and you can assign it to the worker. Defined CoS requests are typically approved within one business day. However, it may take longer if the Home Office needs to carry out additional checks on the information in your application.

Avoid delays when applying for a defined sponsorship certificate

Smith Stone Walters has noticed a recent increase in the number of defined CoS requests taking longer than the standard one business day to be approved. In particular, the CoS demands defined for workers on the road for health and care workers are being examined more closely.

Any delay in receiving your approved certificate in your SMS account will have a ripple effect on how quickly you can assign it to the worker and subsequently how quickly they can apply for their visa. Below, we outline our top tips for avoiding delays when applying for a defined sponsorship certificate.

  • Carefully check the information provided – It is essential to be as specific as possible when entering the required details on your application. Avoid providing misleading information and check that you have entered all details correctly, such as salary and SOC code for the position. If any of this information is incorrect, your application may be rejected.
  • Be prepared to be asked for more information – Once an application has been submitted on the SMS, the Home Office will review it and may request additional information about the role described in the application. Sponsors should therefore be prepared to provide further details upon request.
  • Respond on time – If the Home Office requests additional information, it will let you know when you should respond. If you do not provide the required information by the requested date, the request will be rejected.
  • Check spam emails for correspondence – Further to the above, make sure you don’t miss any important emails and Home Office deadlines by regularly checking your emails, including the spam folder.
  • Submit applications as soon as possible – It is essential to ensure that you submit your defined CoS requests in sufficient time to ensure that you can onboard your new employee on time. Although requests are usually processed within the day, delays are possible and requests for additional information are frequent. You do not need to have identified a candidate to apply for a defined CoS, but you will need to confirm the specific job and salary details of the role the migrant worker will fill.

Detailed guidance on applying for a sponsorship certificate set using SMS is available here.

Sponsorship advice and support

Smith Stone Walters has a dedicated sponsorship licensing team experienced in helping businesses of all sizes manage the sponsorship and visa application process.

To find out how we can help your business, please contact us today.

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