July 21, 2014

Employers should be reminded that allocations of unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) will begin automatically renewing on August 4, 2014. Traditionally, employers in the UK have been required to renew their CoS allocations through a manual process that included significant document requirements from the company. However, announced in early April of this year, the UK Home Office confirmed that unrestricted CoS for Tier 2 and Tier 5 will be automatically renewed at the end of the employer’s allocation year. The automatic allotment will be based on the number of CoS that the employer assigned to each specific category (i.e. Tier 2 and Tier 5) during the previous allocation year.

• For employers with allocations that expire before August 6, 2014 – manual renewal of CoS allocations will still be required for 2014 and should already be in process or completed. In other words, the automatic renewal of CoS allocations will not be applicable for employers in this situation until 2015.
• For employers with allocations that expire after August 6, 2014 – manual renewal of their CoS allocations will not be possible; rather, the automatic renewal process will apply.

As the automatic renewal is based on the number of CoS used in the previous year (rather than the number of CoS requested), employers may need to request additional CoS allocations on an ad hoc basis through the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) as their business needs dictate. Documentation supporting these business needs will be required; however, the overall process to request these ad hoc CoS is straightforward with fast processing times.

By implementing this change, the Home Office hopes to not only make the SMS more user friendly, but also to prevent instances where sponsors urgently need to assign CoS but cannot do so if their allocation has run out.