April 10, 2012

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has indicated that licensed sponsors may experience significant delay in obtaining their new allocations of Certificates of Sponsorship.  This will inevitably mean significant delays in issuing individual Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT) Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) filed via the company’s sponsor management system (SMS).    These delays affect initial and renewal Tier 2 applications.

Delays in Receiving 2012 CoS Allotments 

Delays in processing Tier 2 CoS applications are a result of the UKBA not yet loading the updated Tier 2 General (unrestricted) and Intra-Company Transfer CoS allotments for the new financial year available in the SMS. These allotments are available from April 6, 2012-April 5, 2013.  This is irrespective of how early the allocation requests were filed.

Due to a severe shortage of available staff to process CoS applications, the UKBA presently estimates there are roughly 8,000 CoS applications outstanding.   Plans are to prioritize the top 200 British companies who use the sponsor management system and any other “one-off” cases where it is possible to demonstrate that someone’s status is due to expire within the next seven days.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS 

Companies with assignees in need to renew their Tier 2 General or ICT status, or planning to file an initial Tier 2 CoS application, should be aware that the UKBA is under a “wait-your-turn” policy.

Until the UKBA clear the backlog and the SMS is updated, UK companies may be unable to issue any CoS for the time being.   We therefore recommend that companies should work with their immigration suppliers to determine how best to address setting new expectations for new assignments and ensuring existing assignees remain in status while awaiting approval of their renewal applications.

Pro-Link GLOBAL is working with its UK KGNM to escalate applications where appropriate. However, we are unable to provide processing time estimates as to when applications will be processed in a traditional manner.

This news alert was provided in coordination with our UK KGNM– Sarah Buttler Associates Limited.

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.