UK Visa Sponsorship for Employers - Certificate of Sponsorship (2023)

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What is a UK Visa Sponsorship for Employers?

A UK Visa Sponsorship for Employers is the authorization empowering UK employers with the right to assign Certificate of Sponsorship for foreign nationals that come to the UK under a work visa. Those seeking to get a sponsor employer, must have the needed qualification, experience and skills for the position which should be suitable for sponsorship.

A UK employer that wants to hire foreign workers in their organization will be asked to sponsor them in their visa application, by granting them with a certificate of sponsorship for work.The longest an employer can sponsor a foreign worker is five years.

The purpose of a Certificate of Sponsorship is, primarily, to support foreign workers’ visa application but, equally, is to assure the UK authorities that the UK employer will take the needed responsibilities and obligations for activities of the sponsored employee during their employment in their company.

(Video) United Kingdom - Work Visa Sponsorship for Employers- Sponsor Licence

What is a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)?

Certificates of sponsorship (CoS) are not regular paper documents, they are electronic records with a unique number reserved for each foreign employee. This number is to be used by the employee during their application for the work visa (amongst a list of other application documents), and it cannot be put in use later than three months from the issuance day.

Who can get a Certificate of Sponsorship to work in the UK?

Any foreigner who has the required skills, qualification and experience to do a job in either Tier 2 or Tier 5 of the point-based system, is eligible to get a sponsor employer in the UK.

Tier 2 skilled workers:

  • Tier 2 General – persons that have a job offer in a skilled job position or a position ranked in the shortage list that cannot be taken by the settled or EEA workers
  • Tier 2 Intra-company transfer – foreigners working in a multinational company willing to either get a job position that cannot be taken by the settled or EEA workers, or to follow a training program within the UK branch of the same company.
  • Tier 2 Sportsperson – foreigners with a job offer as an elite sportsperson or coach in the UK who are internationally recognized and whose contribution would be of a benefit for further development of the UK sport field
  • Tier 2 Minister of religion – foreigners with a job offer for a position in a faith community as a minister of religion, engage in preaching and pastoral activities, missionaries or are members of religious orders.

Tier 5 temporary workers:

  • Creative and sporting: foreigners with a job offer for a position that lasts up to 1 year as a sportsperson, or lasting up to 2 years for a job as an entertainer or artist
  • Charity worker: foreigners with a job offer for an voluntary position lasting up to 1 year
  • Religious worker: foreigners with a job offer lasting up to 2 years as a preacher, pastor or non-pastor
  • Government authorised exchange: foreigners with a job offer lasting up to 1 year for work experience purposes, or lasting up to 2 years for attending a training or research projects for exchange purposes
  • International agreement: foreigners they have a short-term position covered by the international law – i.e. a position as foreign government staff, or as a private servant in a diplomatic household

Who Can Sponsor Foreign Workers?

Almost any UK employer is entitled to employ foreign staff in their company. Yet, they must be authorized for issuing Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS). To issue a CoS, an employer must first get the sponsor license – a license that is appropriate to the type of job they will be occupying with foreign staff.

The legitimacy to sponsor employment of the foreign staff within their company is reserved only to those employers who are capable of coping with the necessary requirements, conditions and procedures set for the UK employment sponsorship.

How to Get a CoS?

A CoS has to be created by the assigned staff of the sponsor employer using Sponsorship Management System (SMS), after the staff was given the login details of a licensed sponsor (following the successful application for the license).

(Video) Certificate of Sponsorship UK Tier2 visa | How to apply for UK's Certificate of sponsorship(COS)?

The sponsor has to complete all the mandatory fields in the system with the needed information regarding the sponsored foreign employer. The information includes ID information, passport info, current home address, identification numbers, work address, work dates, home address in the UK, migrant employment, labour market test, other as required in the online form.

There is a fee to be paid by the sponsor employer for assigning a certificate of sponsorship as in the following:

  • Tier 2 CoS – £199
  • Tier 5 CoS – £21
  • Free to nationals of the Turkey, Croatia and North Macedonia

Another fee known as “Immigration Skills Charge” is applicative when it comes to issuing Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) CoS. The fee needs to be paid latest 10 days from assigning the CoS; otherwise workers visa will be cancelled.

What are the Types of CoS?

Depending on the job a foreign employee will be performing in their business, the employer must require a sponsor license to issue certificates of sponsorship for either in Tier 2 – skilled workers with long term contracts, or Tier 5 – temporary workers with short-term.

When the employer applies for the license, they have to estimate the number of CoS they are attentive to issue in the first year of the license.

For specific jobs, employers are restricted as regards of the number of CoS allowed to assign each month. These are known as restricted certificates. While, for some jobs there is no limitation on the number of CoS employer can assign, and these are called unrestricted certificates.

Restricted certificates are issued on the following categories:

  • Tier 2 (General) out of the UK, with a salary offer under £159,600/year
  • Dependants of Tier 4 foreigners willing to switch into a Tier 2 visa

How to apply for a Sponsoring Licence?

Briefly said, the organization can assign CoS and support a foreign employee to come and work with them in the UK if the following conditions are met:

  • have open job positions suitable for sponsorship,
  • prove that their organization is an eligible business,
  • successfully apply for and receive the appropriate sponsor license,
  • demonstrate having the necessary staff and capacity to properly administrate with the sponsorship process

UK employers have to undergo the following steps of applying to get a sponsor license:

  1. Complete, sign and send the online application form for sponsor license
  2. Pay the application fee
  3. Send the supporting documents to show you are located in the UK
  4. Show documents which prove being an eligible and suitable business/organization
  5. Send planning permission, or local planning authority consent to operate the type of business at your trading address (if required)
  6. Offer the registration certificate with the food authority (if being a food business)
  7. During the application, the tiers, categories and subcategories under which the employer wishes to be licensed must be chosen, in order to get the appropriate sponsor license

Table of fees involved in the application for sponsor license

Premium sponsor scheme – Tiers 2 & 5 (large sponsor)£25,000
Premium sponsor scheme – Tiers 2 & 5 (small sponsor)£8,000
Premium sponsor scheme – Tiers 2 & 5 (large sponsor) for a period of 3 months£6,250
Premium sponsor scheme – Tiers 2 & 5 (small sponsor) for a period of 3 months£2,000
Premium Change of Circumstances£200
Tier 2 large sponsor license (may also include Tier 4 and/or Tier 5)£1,476
Tier 2 small sponsor license (may also include Tier 4 and/or Tier 5)£536
Tier 5 sponsor license£536
Add Tier 2 to an existing Tier 4 &/or Tier 5 license (large sponsor)£940
Sponsor action plan£1,476
Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)£199
Tier 5 Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)£21

What is considered a job suitable for sponsorship?

Job suitability means that the job position a UK employer offers for the foreign national worker meets the criteria as regards of the salary offered and skills required.

This because for every category there is a criterion for sponsorship, as in the following:

  • Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) – must reach the level 6 and higher of the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF)
  • Ballet dancers, other dancers, film and TV performers, theatre and opera performers, film and TV workers

The sponsor has to take the procedure known as “the resident labour market test” in some cases to assure that the job position that can be occupied by the foreign worker could not be filled by either local or EEA nationals.

The case includes Tier 2 (General), Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) or Tier 5 (Religious Workers) important positions only, excluding cases when of living within a religious order (such as a monk or nun), as well as for Tier 5 (Creative and Sporting) in the creative and entertainment sector.

The test means advertising the job position in minimum two job advertising mediums for 28 days.

What is an Immigration Skills Charge?

Immigration skills charge is a fee to be paid from the sponsor employer when assigning CoS for Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) foreigners.

The fee is charged for the aforementioned cases if they are expecting to get a job lasting 6 months or longer while they are out of the UK. While, if the foreigner is already in the UK the fee will be charged for any sort of extent of the job period.

Excempt to pay this fee are cases when the sponsor wishes to assign a CoS to the following cases:

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  • A foreigner with Tier 4 (General) student about to switch into a Tier 2 (General)
  • A foreigner already having a Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Graduate Trainee
  • A foreigner who is about to get a job within the PhD level of the SOC code
  • Dependants of the worker that the sponsor wishes to assign CoS for

The fee depends on the size of the sponsor employer and the length of the contract with the sponsored foreign worker, but the general fee is presented below:

  • First year / small or charitable employers – £364
  • First year / medium or large employers – £1,000
  • Every further half-year / small or charitable employers – £182
  • Every further half-year / medium or large employers – £500
  • For persons working less than a year and more than half-year – £364 or £1,000

Which are responsibilities of the sponsor?

Assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship to a foreign worker will make the sponsor responsible as in the following:

  • Properly examine skills, education, accreditations related to the job requirements
  • The issuance of the CoS has to be for a suitable job for sponsorship
  • Inform UKVI about any break of the visa conditions from the sponsored worker
  • be informed about workers’ immigration status
  • keeping dossier of sponsorship for any foreign worker
  • keep information and registers about workers presence in the work place and inform IKVI in case of any unexplained absence
  • update contact information of the worker
  • For any change in the business process – must inform UKVI within 20 working days, if any of the following happen to the sponsor employer:
  • Insolvency
  • change in the business’ scope of work
  • part-taking in a union or take-over

The change must be registered using SMS.

Who cannot be sponsored to work in the UK?

Employers are not allowed to sponsor the following:

  • Persons aged below 18 for the category of Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme), Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – International Agreement) for a job as a private servant in a diplomatic household, or in the household of an international organization
  • Persons aged below 16 for the any Tier 2 category


Is it difficult to get certificate of sponsorship in UK? ›

As mentioned already the registration process can be quite difficult. The employer will need to submit an online application and provide a number of documents via email, in order to apply for a Sponsor Licence, and must accept a considerable number of responsibilities as a Sponsor once the sponsor licence is approved.

Can certificate of sponsorship be rejected? ›

Whether the application is rejected or refused will depend on the severity of the issues raised by the Home Office, for example where a sponsor licence application has been submitted with items missing or incorrect, the application will be invalid and as such it will be rejected.

How do you answer visa sponsorship questions? ›

Answering "Will you now or in the future require sponsorship for employment visa status (e.g., H-1B visa status)?" If you'll require the company to commence ("sponsor") an immigration or work permit case in order to employ you, either now or at some point in the future, then you should select Yes. Otherwise, select No.

How long does it take for CoS to be approved? ›

Approval for a defined CoS generally takes around one working day, although it can be longer if the Home Office requires further clarification of information provided.

How long does it take for CoS to be approved in UK? ›

When you get the certificate. Applications are usually approved within one working day. It may take longer if UKVI need to carry out further checks on the information in your application. Defined certificates will appear in your SMS account once they have been approved.

How long does it take for a sponsorship visa approved UK? ›

How long it takes to get a decision. Most applications are dealt with in less than 8 weeks. UKVI may need to visit your business. You may be able to pay an extra £500 to get a decision within 10 working days.

Does CoS guarantee a visa? ›

A CoS does not guarantee that a visa will be granted. Once you have assigned the CoS, the applicant worker will still need to submit a successful visa application under the Skilled Worker, Intra Company, Minister of Religion, Sportsperson, or one of the Temporary Worker categories of the points-based system.

Can a CoS be denied? ›

Problems with Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

Assigning an incorrect or invalid CoS to a prospective employee could lead to the application being rejected or, even if approved, a potential fine of up to £20,000 for the employer, and the loss of their sponsor licence for employing a worker illegally.

What causes UK visa rejection? ›

Such are the cases of: Failing to present an employment and professional qualification that matches the presented financial situation. Incapacity to provide documents that support the purpose of travel and stay in the UK. The inability to offer unchanging declarations about the purpose of travel and stay.

Do they tell you why your visa is rejected? ›

Upon visa refusal, you will get a letter from the consulate stating the reason for refusal. This will help you reapply after a specific period of time by rectifying the mistake. Also, some of the consulate websites provide the visa status with the reason for rejection, if any.

Why is my certificate of Sponsorship taking so long? ›

Once a request has been approved, the defined CoS will appear in your SMS account and you can assign it to the worker. Applications for defined CoS are usually approved within one working day. However, it may take longer if the Home Office needs to carry out further checks on the information in your application.

Who approves CoS in UK? ›

In most cases, the defined CoS will be granted by the Home Office within one working day. When applying for a defined CoS, the Home Office can request further information regarding the role, how the individual was identified, etc.

What happens after a CoS is assigned? ›

Once you have been assigned a CoS by your sponsor, you have 3 months to make your visa application, after which time the certificate will expire. If required, the CoS start and end date can be changed by the employer by making changes via a sponsor note in the Sponsor Management System.

How long is a certificate of sponsorship valid for? ›

Any Certificates of Sponsorship granted will be valid for 12 months. Any unused CoS will be removed from the SMS account, they cannot be carried over.

What are documents required for apply CoS in UK? ›

a valid passport or other document that shows your identity and nationality. your job title and annual salary. your job's occupation code. the name of your employer and their sponsor licence number - this will be on your certificate of sponsorship.

Why is my UK visa being delayed 2022? ›

April 2022 Update: Priority and super priority visa services have been temporarily suspended for new study, work and family visa applications made outside the UK to join family in the UK. Standard visitor visa applications are currently taking on average 6 weeks to process.

How long does it take for UK visa to be rejected? ›

If the letter does not mention an appeal can be filed, the applicant will have to file a fresh visa application. The visa appeal process takes around 12 weeks, beginning from the submission of the appeal application to the hearing and decision by the judge.

How long does employer sponsored visa take? ›

On average, most Standard Business Sponsorship applications are processed within 1 week – 2 months from date of lodgement.

How much bank balance is required for UK sponsorship visa? ›

support yourself when you arrive in the UK - you'll usually need to have at least £1,270 available (unless you're exempt)

Does CoS guarantee Tier 2 visa? ›

Once the employer has issued the certificate of Sponsorship the applicant can then apply for their Tier 2 or Tier 5 work visa. Having a CoS does not guarantee your visa application will be successful as there are other conditions that have to be fulfilled.

Can CoS be Cancelled? ›

If you wish to cancel the withdrawal, select Back. From the Withdrawal confirmation screen, select Withdraw CoS. If you wish to cancel the withdrawal, select Cancel. Once the CoS has been withdrawn, you will be returned to the Search for a CoS screen.

What is CoS approval? ›

Change of Status, commonly referred to as COS, means someone applying with USCIS to change their current visa status to another visa status, without leaving the country.

What are the chances of UK visa rejection? ›

What are the chances of UK visa rejection? The current refusal rate for UK visa applications is around 15%, with some categories experiencing an even higher rate of refusals, such as Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, having a 50% visa rejection rate.

How long does it take NHS to issue CoS? ›

An unrestricted CoS can be approved in a matter of days. A restricted CoS can take a number of weeks to be processed. Unrestricted Certificates: As all doctors and nurses are exempt from the Tier 2 Cap, we strongly advise trusts to apply for unrestricted CoS to save them time and paperwork.

Can you use a certificate of Sponsorship twice? ›

No, prospective Tier 2 General Visa applicants can apply for as many jobs as they wish, but they must only accept one and use the appropriate Certificate of Sponsorship from that specific employer to form the basis of their Tier 2 General Visa application.

Do UK embassy verify bank statements? ›

You can provide a download of electronic bank statements as long as it has this information. You do not need to have these stamped by the bank. We may do verification checks with your bank. If we're unable to verify the funds your application may be refused.

How will you know if your UK visa is denied? ›

If your application is refused

You'll get a letter or an email explaining why your application was refused. Your passport will be returned, if it was kept as part of your application. Your refusal letter will explain if you have the right to either an: administrative review.

Does US visa refusal affect UK visa? ›

It depends on the reason of the refusal. UK and US have different rules. But also a US visa refusal doesn't mean that now you will have an other US refusal. If you doesn't tell us the reasons, we cannot properly answer, but in any case we are not layers not immigration officers, so..

What makes a sponsorship successful? ›

Staff engagement a really successful sponsorship will work well internally as well as externally. Look for scope for staff incentives, motivational talks or for members of staff to become involved with the sponsored activity. The sponsorship should feature regularly in internal communications.

What to say to get a sponsorship? ›

Talk About Money

When you're seeking sponsorship money, explain how much a program or event costs to implement, how much money you have and how much money you need. Sponsors need to understand the bottom-line dollars and cents to be interested and engaged in helping to support your mission.

What makes a good sponsorship deal? ›

Sponsorship sales require a clear agreement with defined roles and responsibilities in order to be successful. As a marketing tool, it allows you to connect with the right brands and products to enhance your relationship with your audience while also building a connection with your audience, members, fans or donors.

What kind of sponsorship are most valuable? ›

Financial, or sometimes referred to as cash sponsors, continue to be the leading type of event sponsorship. With this one, a sponsor offers money to an event organizer in exchange for promotions or other benefits outlined in their sponsorship agreement.

What is the most important part of being a sponsor for confirmation? ›

The primary responsibility of the sponsor is to provide the candidate prayerful support and guidance in his or her Christian walk and to “take care that the confirmed person behaves as a true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations inherent in this sacrament” (canon 892).

What disqualifies you from getting a visa? ›

An applicant's current and/or past actions, such as drug or criminal activities, as examples, may make the applicant ineligible for a visa. If denied a visa, in most cases the applicant is notified of the section of law which applies.

Is UK visa rejection stamped on passport? ›

Does the UK stamp on the passport for the rejection of a visa? Ans: UK embassy doesn't put any stamp on the passport for the rejection of a visa. They will notify you of the reasons for visa rejection.

How long does it take for CoS to make a decision? ›

The Defined CoS

It normally takes up to a week for the Home Office to decide an application for a defined CoS, and often only a day or two. That said, we've seen decisions take as long as five to six weeks, especially if the Home Office requests further information before making the decision.

Is it easy to get sponsorship in UK? ›

It is an easy three stage process. Stage one is to establish a UK company, and then apply for a sponsor licence, which allows that company to sponsor an overseas worker on a Skilled Worker visa. That skilled worker will be you. In effect you will be sponsoring yourself to come and work in your own company.

How long can a CoS be issued for? ›

The Annual CoS allocation (CoS Year) runs 12 months from the date your sponsor licence was granted, or 12 months from the last renewal application was granted.

Can CoS be rejected? ›

Problems with Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

Assigning an incorrect or invalid CoS to a prospective employee could lead to the application being rejected or, even if approved, a potential fine of up to £20,000 for the employer, and the loss of their sponsor licence for employing a worker illegally.

What happens if CoS is denied? ›

What happens once COS is denied? If USCIS denies the COS, then alien would continue to remain on your current visa category and need to maintain the same.

Can you start work after CoS date? ›

When do I actually have to start working (the 28 day rule)? Once you have been granted entry clearance/permission to stay you must start working within 28 days of whichever is latest: The start day on your CoS (the Home Office will take account of any changes reported by your employer using a sponsor note, see below);

Are sponsorships hard to get? ›

Getting sponsors is hard work, and it takes tons of time and personal investment prior to ever seeing anything. Expect lots of rejection and to get ghosted by your points of contact. Then, if you do get sponsored, it will probably be for less than you were hoping for in exchange for more than you were hoping to give.

What is the minimum salary to get sponsorship in UK? ›

You'll usually need to be paid at least £25,600 per year or £10.10 per hour, whichever is higher. If the 'going rate' for your job is higher than both of these, you'll usually need to be paid at least the going rate.

Are UK companies willing to sponsor visa? ›

Are UK companies willing to sponsor visa? UK companies are absolutely willing to sponsor foreign workers who require a visa. The majority of foreigners working in the UK today are in the country on some sort of Work visa.

How much is certificate of sponsorship UK? ›

£1,820 (5 x £364) if you're a small or charitable sponsor. £5,000 (5 x £1,000) if you're a medium or large sponsor.

Why is my certificate of sponsorship taking so long? ›

Once a request has been approved, the defined CoS will appear in your SMS account and you can assign it to the worker. Applications for defined CoS are usually approved within one working day. However, it may take longer if the Home Office needs to carry out further checks on the information in your application.

How long does it take NHS to issue certificate of sponsorship? ›

Once you have submitted the application and paid the fee, it will take around 8 weeks for the UKVI to process it (although this can vary).

Do NHS let you know if unsuccessful? ›

An email is sent to an applicant, confirming an employer has rejected a job offer on behalf of an applicant. A notification is sent to an applicant, confirming they haven't received a job offer. An email is sent to a referee for a reference. An email is sent to a referee for a reference.

How much do UK companies pay to sponsor? ›

How much does it cost a company to sponsor a visa UK? The sponsor licence application fee is £1,476 for large companies and £536 for small companies and charities. Additional fees also apply, including the cost of assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship to each visa worker, at £199.

Can a friend sponsor me to UK? ›

A friend, family member or business associate can be the sponsor in support of the UK Visitor Visa application. The documents required to sponsor UK Visitor Visa include proof of accommodation and the sponsor's bank balance.


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