May 3, 2011

UK companies sponsoring foreign national workers will have today or yesterday received a letter from the UK Border Agency (UKBA) which sets out the Government’s new strategy for the issuance of Certificates of Sponsorship from 6 April 2011 onwards.  Pro-Link’s recent GLOBAL Brief on the same subject can be accessed here.

Action is required – the UKBA is mandating that companies must request their allocation of Certificates of Sponsorship for April 2011 – April 2012 by 5pm on 11 March.  Please find further details below.

Does My Company Need To Take Action? 

If you want to bring foreign national employees to the UK between 6 April 2011 and 5 April 2012, then yes.

Irrespective of whether you already hold Certificates of Sponsorship or not, or whether you have only recently requested a new allocation, the UKBA is effectively resetting the clock on 6April so that everyone’s allocation starts afresh at this date and then runs until 5 April 2012.

This means that on 6 April 2011, your existing allocations under Tier 2 (ICT) and Tier 2 (General) will be set to zero. Under the new terms which were announced a short while ago, sponsors will need to request a new allocation of unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship.

What Is An Unrestricted Certificate of Sponsorship? 

Unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship  are Certificates of Sponsorship that will be issued not subject to the new quota system.  This covers the following categories:

  •  All Tier 2 (ICT) jobs – both new and extensions;
  •  Any Tier 2 (General) new hires who will be entering the UK from overseas and the annual salary for the job is £150,000 or more;
  • Any Tier 2 (General) Extensions – where you need to extend leave for a migrant who is already in the UK and working for you and who has existing leave under Tier 2 (General) or as a Work Permit holder that was granted on or before 5 April 2011;
  • Any Tier 2 (General) Changes of Employment – where a migrant is already in the UK with valid leave under Tier 2 (General) or as a Work Permit holder which was granted on or before 5 April 2011 and who wants to change employer.
  • Any Tier 2 (General) Switching Immigration Category – where a CoS is required for a migrant who is already in the UK in another immigration category of stay and who wants to switch in-country into Tier 2 (General) where this is allowable under the Immigration Rules;

There is a different process to apply for restricted Certificates for all those roles which do not fall into the above category.

What Do I Need To Do? 

The UKBA has said that requests for allocations of Certificates of Sponsorship  in both Tier 2 General (unrestricted) and Tier 2 ICT (unrestricted), along with a brief justification for the same, must be returned to them by 5pm on 11 March 2011.  It is important that this is done by this date, otherwise you may not have any allocation of Certificates in any category when the allocations are reset on 6 April.


  • Please urgently review your requirements for the year 6 April 2011 to 5 April 2012 following the above breakdown of categories.  Send details together with a short summary of the business need for this request to your Pro-Link GLOBAL representative.  We will then complete the template table provided by the UKBA and submit this on your behalf.  Please return this information to us no later than 9 March 2011. 

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification.  Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with our PLG | KGNM correspondent office in the UK to provide this GLOBAL Brief to you.