August 12, 2011

The Deputy Director of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) has issued an announcement to UK companies registered as Licensed Sponsors regarding proposed changes to the UKBA’s Sponsorship Management System (SMS) scheduled to occur by October 1, 2011.   This announcement affects how Licensed Sponsors are to arrange payment for Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) on behalf of non-European Economic Area/non-Swiss national (non-EEA/Swiss national) skilled migrants, apply for Restricted CoS (RCoS) and to report changes in key personnel and organizational changes.  The UKBA envisages that these changes will improve the process used by Licensed Sponsors to manage foreign migrant workers and will streamline the UKBA’s application process.

Clients are advised that the UKBA will publish updated guidance during August and September and advise of any changes prior to the October 1 implementation date.

Changes to Tier 2 RCoS Application 

RCoS are allocated by the UKBA to Licensed Sponsors wishing to sponsor non-EEA/Swiss national workers who do not qualify as intra-company transferees or as shortage-occupation workers. RCoS applicants are generally categorized as earning an annual salary below £150,000 and whose proposed job will generally require a Resident Labor Market Test (RLMT).  On and after October 1, 2011, applications for RCoS must be submitted via the SMS instead of the UKBA’s current online application form.  By submitting RCoS applications via the SMS, Licensed Sponsors will have better ability to submit, track and withdraw RCoS applications in addition to reviewing a Licensed Sponsor’s allocation of certificates.

Changes of Circumstances Reporting/Migrant Reporting

The UKBA will require Licensed Sponsors to utilize the SMS to report key personnel and organizational changes affecting their UK company operations.  The SMS will enable Licensed Sponsors to make updates online and more accurately capture changes with the UKBA.  The UKBA will also introduce changes on how it will report and track changes in migrant activity in the UK. 

Tier 4 Highly-Trusted Sponsor Status 

A sponsor with a Highly-Trusted Sponsor License can offer a wider range of courses to international students (Tier 4 applicants) and can offer expanded services when recognized by the UKBA as having an established history of good compliance. On and after October 1, 2011, the status of Highly-Trusted Sponsors will be posted on the Sponsor Summary screen of the SMS.

Client Advisory 

As indicated above, the UKBA is making this advance announcement primarily to Licensed Sponsors advising proposed new protocols in submitting CoS and RCoS applications on behalf of non-EEA/Swiss national workers.  Clients having UK operations are advised to remind the Authorizing Officers of their UK operations to review the phasing in of the UKBA’s implementation dates for CoS/RCoS applications.  Authorizing Officers are invited to review the proposed RCoS implementation schedule at:http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/newsfragments/50changes-rcos.   Pro-Link GLOBAL will monitor any further changes made prior to October 1.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader 

This content is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or final guidance for any immigration matter. Readers are reminded that a country’s immigration laws and requirements may change with little to no advance public notice. Questions regarding specific immigration matters should be addressed to your Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist.