Employers who hold a Skilled Worker or ICT sponsor licence need to make sure they apply to renew their annual allocation of Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) before 5 April 2021. You may find your renewal is set to ‘automatic’, but in most cases it is for the sponsor to request the number of CoS they expect to need for the next year.
Sponsors of Skilled Workers should bear in mind that the renewal is just for undefined CoS. These are only for individuals who are in the UK and will either be extending their existing Tier 2/Skilled worker visa, transferring from another employer or new graduate hires. Anyone coming from outside the UK needs a defined CoS, which is a different process.
We recommend that you start by looking at how many visa renewals you have that you will need to sponsor in the next year, as you need to make sure they are covered. Then it is a case of considering how many new hires you may need to sponsor. Brexit will increase the need for sponsorship, but remember anyone in the UK already will probably have pre-settled or settled status, so it is only really defined CoS for people coming from abroad that will be impacted by this. Therefore this change will actually only have limited impact on how many undefined CoS you need. It is possible to request an increased allocation during the year if needed, although it is better to get it right at the start if you can.
We have noticed that the Home Office is taking a different approach this year. Instead of granting all renewals to run from 6 April 2021 to 5 April 2022, the period will begin on the date your allocation renewal request is decided. Therefore if you have any CoS in the bank that you are planning to use up before 5 April, we would recommend assigning those before making your renewal request.
These articles are from the March 2021 issue of Employment and Immigration Law Update, our monthly newsletter for HR professionals. To download the latest issue, please visit the newsletter section of our website. For further information please contact a member of Birketts’ Immigration Team.
The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at March 2021.