Previously, licensed employers that sponsor foreign workers had to undergo an annual application process to renew their Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) allocations. Beginning August 6th, 2014, CoS allocations will be renewed automatically by the Home Office. As a result of this change, unrestricted CoS allocations of Tier 2 skilled workers and Tier 5 temporary workers will no longer be delayed due to renewal processes. This change will also eliminate situations in which sponsors urgently need to assign CoS, but are unable to do so as a result of the expiration of their allocation. Employers will be granted an allocation amount equivalent to the number of CoS assigned to foreign workers in that category during the previous allocation year. Unexpected allocation of an unrestricted CoS greater than the number granted by the Home Office may be permitted through an “ad hoc” request via the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) by the employer during any point in the year. Employers should be ready to request CoS allocation increases as a result of a greater need for foreign workers.

This change will only affect allocations that expire on August 6th, 2014, and onwards. If an employer is unsure of their expiry date, they may check this on the “License Summary” screen in SMS. Employers will be notified by the Home Office when their SMS has been updated with the automatic renewal function. The automated system will present “Automatic Renewal” on the “Request Renewal of Annual Allocations” screen in SMS three months before an employer’s CoS allocation’s expiry. For any employers who have already submitted an application for allocation renewal, this change to automation will not occur until the following year. Employers should be reminded that the annual renewal of CoS allocations is not linked to the renewal of sponsor licenses, which must be done every four years.

Please note that this is general information only and not intended as advice on a specific matter. Please feel free to contact Fakhoury Global Immigration directly with questions exclusive to your situation. This news alert may have been prepared using information from Peregrine Immigration Management, which is licensed to Fakhoury Global Immigration.