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Certificate of Sponsorship

Are you a non-UK resident seeking employment in the country? The UK Certificate of Sponsorship process can be a daunting and complex journey. However, with the right guidance and understanding, you can unlock the keys to success and navigate this process with ease.

In this article, we will break down the UK Certificate of Sponsorship process step by step, providing you with accurate and up-to-date information. Whether you are a skilled worker, an employer looking to hire talent from overseas, or an organization wanting to sponsor an employee, we have got you covered.

We will explore the eligibility criteria, the application process, and the documents required to successfully obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship. Additionally, we will provide invaluable tips and insights to help you streamline the process and avoid common pitfalls.

With our comprehensive guidance, you'll be well-equipped to make informed decisions, increasing your chances of success in obtaining the necessary sponsorship for your UK employment opportunities.

What is a Certificate of Sponsorship?

The Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is a document that is required for individuals who wish to apply for a visa to work in the UK. It is necessary because it allows sponsored workers to legally work in the UK for a specific employer, for a limited period. The CoS is a valuable and important document that provides individuals with the opportunity to work and gain experience in the UK, and it is essential for employers who wish to hire skilled workers from outside the UK.

For an individual to make a valid visa application under the Skilled Worker and other sponsored work routes, a sponsor (employer) must first assign a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to them.

The Certificate of Sponsorship is a document issued by a licensed sponsor, confirming their intention to sponsor a migrant worker's visa application. 

Our team provides a clear understanding of the purpose and significance of the CoS, ensuring employers and individuals are well-informed throughout the process.

Understanding the requirements for a CoS

Obtaining a UK Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) requires meeting specific requirements set by the UKVI. Understanding these requirements is crucial to ensuring a successful application and navigating the CoS process with ease. Here are some key requirements to consider:

1. Job role and skill level: The sponsored job role must meet the skill level requirements set by the UKVI. The role should be at least at the appropriate skill level, as determined by the UK Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. Additionally, the job role should be genuine and meet the requirements of the relevant Codes of Practice.

2. Salary threshold: The sponsored employee must receive a salary that meets the minimum threshold set by the UKVI. The salary threshold varies depending on the job role, location, and the type of CoS. It is important to ensure that the offered salary meets the required threshold to avoid complications or rejection of the application.

3. Genuine vacancy: The sponsored job role must be a genuine vacancy within the sponsoring organisation. The UKVI may assess the vacancy to ensure its legitimacy and whether it adheres to the relevant Codes of Practice. Providing accurate and detailed information about the vacancy is essential to meet this requirement.

4. English language proficiency: In most cases, the sponsored employee will need to demonstrate English language proficiency at the required level. This can be proven through various approved English language tests or qualifications. Ensure that the sponsored employee meets the specific English language requirements for the CoS application.

5. Maintenance funds: Depending on the circumstances, the sponsored employee may need to demonstrate sufficient funds to support themselves and any dependents while in the UK. The specific amount required may vary, so it is important to review the UKVI guidelines and ensure compliance with this requirement.

6. Compliance with immigration rules: Sponsors must ensure that they and their sponsored employees comply with all relevant UK immigration rules and regulations. This includes reporting any changes in the sponsored employee's circumstances, maintaining accurate records, and fulfilling their duties as sponsors.

Understanding and fulfilling these requirements is essential to a successful CoS application.

By carefully reviewing the guidelines provided by the UKVI and seeking professional advice, you can ensure that your application is accurate, complete, and in line with the requirements.

By following these steps and ensuring accuracy and completeness in your CoS application, you can increase your chances of a successful outcome and move forward in your UK employment journey.

Certificate costs

You’ll need to pay a fee when you assign a certificate to a worker. How much a certificate will cost depends on the type of sponsor licence you have.

You’ll need to pay a fee when you assign a certificate to a worker. How much a certificate will cost depends on the type of sponsor licence you have.

Type of licenceCost per certificate
Worker (except workers on the International Sportsperson visa) £239
Temporary Worker£25
International Sportsperson - where the certificate of sponsorship is assigned for more than 12 months£239
International Sportsperson - where the certificate of sponsorship is assigned for 12 months or less£25

How to apply for certificate of sponsorship

We can help you with this. We will advise you on what needs to be submitted and guide you through the whole process.

Frequently asked questions about the CoS process

Can a CoS be transferred to a different employer?

In most cases, a CoS is specific to the sponsoring employer. If an employee wishes to change employers, a new CoS will generally be required. However, there are some exceptions, such as within the same group of companies or in cases of takeover or merger.

How long does it take to obtain a CoS?

AThe processing time for a CoS application can vary. It is advisable to allow sufficient time for the application to be processed, as delays may occur due to various factors such as workload, complexity of the application, and the specific CoS type.

Can a CoS be extended?

Yes, a CoS can be extended if the sponsored employee wishes to continue working in the UK beyond the initial CoS validity period. The extension process involves submitting a new CoS application and meeting the relevant requirements.

Can a CoS be used for multiple employees?

No, a CoS is generally specific to an individual employee. Each sponsored employee will require their own separate CoS, even if they are filling the same job role within the sponsoring organization.

Can I recover any costs?

Considering the costs of employing a skilled worker it is understandable that employers might want to recover the costs in case an employee leaves the job early. A Clawback clause in the skilled worker employment contracts can assist in achieving that goal. They are, however, a complex matter.

In certain circumstances, the NHS surcharge can also be recovered. That can happen mostly when a visa is refused or is shorter than anticipated at the time of application.

It is important to note that the answers provided here are general in nature and may not apply to every individual case. Consulting the UKVI guidelines and seeking professional advice is recommended for specific and personalized information regarding the CoS process.

Conclusion: The importance of thorough preparation in the CoS process

Successfully navigating the UK Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) process requires thorough preparation, attention to detail, and a clear understanding of the requirements. By carefully reviewing the eligibility criteria, gathering all necessary documents, and following the correct procedures, you can increase your chances of obtaining a CoS and pursuing employment opportunities in the UK.

Maintaining compliance with the CoS requirements, seeking professional advice when needed, and allowing sufficient time for the application process are essential elements in ensuring a smooth and successful immigration journey.

Remember, the CoS process can be complex, and each case is unique. It is important to stay informed, keep up with any changes in the UK immigration rules, and seek professional guidance if you have any specific concerns or questions.

Unlocking success in the UK Certificate of Sponsorship process is within your reach. With the right knowledge, preparation, and guidance, you can open doors to new employment opportunities and embark on a fulfilling career in the UK.

  • We have a great relationship with the UK Visas team, who provide a prompt, professional service and expert immigration advice. They take the worry out of the visa process, working efficiently even when dealing with numerous requests at once.

    Sarah Bond
    Human Resources Advisor
  • I can honestly say everyone that I deal with at UK Visas are very efficient, super helpful and informative and extremely nice (especially Ana and Garima). Also patient with all my questions – nothing is ever too much trouble, and very prompt with their responses.

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  • I’ve worked with UK Visas for almost 10 years now, and the support and advice never fails. From the sponsorship of new employees to training for the whole team, UK Visas are always extremely helpful and knowledgeable. I would highly recommend their services!

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    Head of Human Resources,
  • Having worked with UK Visas for more than eight years, I cannot recommend their services enough. We have worked with them on a wide variety of immigration topics, including complex licence matters (following acquisitions), day to day sponsorship processes, and reporting; and we have always received an amazing service.

    Members of the team are responsive and come back to our queries quickly, they are always polite, and go out of their way to be as helpful as possible. Thank you to all of the team for the wonderful ongoing support you provide!

    Amy Gadsby
    Director, Human Resources - EMEA
  • We have worked with UK Visas for a number of years and the service that is provided is excellent.

    No query is too big or too small. Always accommodating and helpful. Thank you team!

    Louise Goddard
    Executive Business Partner to CEO and the Board
  • We have worked with UK Visas for over 10 years, since we initially requested obtaining a Sponsor Licence. From day one, their guidance, communication, professionalism, efficiency and support has been and continues to be exemplary, with no request too much.

    Thank you and we look forward to continuing the relationship.

    Sara Searle
    Head of Human Resources and Payroll
  • I’ve worked with UK Visas for over 6 years and always find them helpful, friendly and experts in what they do. I know I can always call them up or send them an email and I will get a detailed response, fast. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone to help and support with your visa journeys.

    Gerry Weiss
    HR Business Partner
  • We have been using UK Visas for many years and service is always expeditious, even as number of requests have increased in recent years. The team advise on a wide range of queries and are always supportive, informative and clear in their advice.

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