The Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) system in the UK is designed to manage the entry and stay of foreign workers in the country. There are two main types of CoS: defined and undefined. 

Differences between defined and undefined CoS

Defined CoS is allocated to employers who wish to hire workers for jobs that are on the Shortage Occupation List. The job must match the criteria set out on the list and must be advertised to UK citizens before a CoS can be applied for. Once the job has been approved, the employer will receive an allocation of points based on the worker’s experience and qualifications which can then be used to secure a CoS. The allocated points will determine how long the CoS will last and how many applications can be made with the same CoS.

Undefined CoS is allocated to employers who wish to hire workers for jobs that are not on the Shortage Occupation List. The job must meet certain criteria such as the salary being above a specified level and the employer must demonstrate that there is no suitable resident worker available for the position. Once approved, the employer will receive an allocation of points based on the worker’s experience and qualifications which can then be used to secure a CoS. Unlike defined CoS, the allocated points will not determine the length of time or number of applications that can be made with the same CoS.

The main difference between defined and undefined CoS is that defined CoS is restricted to jobs on the Shortage Occupation List while undefined CoS is open to any suitable job that meets certain criteria. Another key difference is that with defined CoS, the allocated points will determine how long the CoS will last and how many applications can be made with the same CoS. With undefined CoS, however, this is not the case and there is no limit to the number of applications that can be made with one CoS.

Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is an electronic record issued by the UK Home Office. This document allows an individual to come to the UK for a specific purpose and for a limited time. A CoS is required for any non-EEA (European Economic Area) national wanting to work in the UK, either as an employee or self-employed. A CoS must be applied for before entering the UK.

The UK government introduced the CoS system in April 2011, replacing the previous work permit system. The CoS is linked to the sponsor’s licence and points based system (PBS). The PBS is a points-based system that grades applicants according to certain criteria, such as education, qualifications and work experience. This determines whether they are eligible to obtain a CoS. 

The sponsor’s licence authorises the employer to recruit and employ non-EEA nationals. This licence outlines the sponsor’s legal duties and obligations towards their sponsored workers, including adherence to specific rules and guidance. 

The CoS system ensures that only qualified individuals are given permission to come to the UK for employment. It also helps the UK government regulate migration levels, by monitoring and controlling who comes into the country and how long they stay.

Defined CoS

A defined CoS is a document that is issued by the Home Office in the UK for those wishing to come to the UK for work purposes. It is a sponsorship certificate that entitles employers to employ non-EU citizens who need to apply for entry clearance or leave to remain in the UK. 

Eligibility criteria for a defined CoS:

To be eligible for a defined CoS, you must meet certain criteria set out by the Home Office. This includes proving that you have a valid job offer from a genuine sponsor, or have been assigned an approved and valid Certificate of Sponsorship by your sponsor. You must also be able to show that you have sufficient funds to support yourself while in the UK.

Definition of defined CoS:

A defined CoS is a formal sponsorship certificate issued by the Home Office in the UK, which certifies that an individual has been given permission to work in the UK. This certificate is valid for up to five years, depending on the applicant’s individual circumstances. 

Examples of jobs that qualify for defined CoS:

Examples of jobs that qualify for a defined CoS include roles such as those in the IT sector, engineering, construction, healthcare and finance. Other roles include those within academia, research and teaching. It is important to note that all applicants must meet the eligibility criteria mentioned above before applying for a defined CoS.

Definition of defined CoS

A defined Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is an official document issued by the UK government to allow a non-EEA national to work in the UK. It must be held by employers to sponsor workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). The CoS is used to demonstrate that a person has met all the requirements set out by the Home Office and is legally allowed to work in the UK.

To be eligible for a defined CoS, an applicant must meet certain criteria, including having the right qualifications, experience, skills and language proficiency. Applicants must also have a valid job offer from an employer in the UK who has a valid sponsor licence

The employer is required to assign a specific number of points for each job role for which a defined CoS is needed. The points system is set up to reward highly skilled workers with more points than those with lower level jobs. 

The jobs which qualify for a defined CoS must generally pay at least £30,000 a year and should meet the requirements of the Code of Practice for Skilled Workers. Examples of jobs that may qualify for a defined CoS include doctors, nurses, engineers, IT professionals, teachers, managers and other highly skilled professionals.

Eligibility criteria for defined CoS

To be eligible for a defined Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) in the UK, the applicant must meet certain requirements. 

Firstly, they must have a genuine job offer from a Home Office-approved sponsor, who is registered with the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). The employer must provide evidence that the role is being filled in accordance with the UK’s immigration rules. 

The job must be at least at the level of NQF4 (NVQ Level 4) or equivalent, and at least 20 hours per week. This includes roles in care work and nursing. The applicant must also demonstrate their ability to speak English at an acceptable level. 

The job offer must have a salary that meets the applicable rate for the occupation, which is the going rate for a similar role in that area. In some cases, this may be higher than the minimum wage. 

The job offer must also provide evidence of compliance with the UKVI’s codes of practice for skilled workers, which can be found on the UKVI website. 

Finally, the applicant must demonstrate that they are able to perform the duties of the job offered to them and that they meet any other relevant criteria outlined by the sponsoring employer.

Examples of jobs that qualify for defined CoS

Under the UK’s Points Based System, a defined Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is a document that sponsors are required to obtain in order to hire an individual from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. Depending on the job title and salary of the applicant, certain jobs qualify for a defined CoS. 

The following jobs are some examples of those that qualify for a defined CoS:

• Engineering Technicians

• Senior Care Workers

• Project Managers 

• Registered Nurses 

• Senior Analysts 

• Software Developers 

• Web Designers 

• Financial Managers 

• Business Analysts 

• Chartered Surveyors 

• Occupational Therapists 

• Airline Pilots 

• Hospitality Managers 

In order to be eligible for a defined CoS, applicants must meet the skilled worker skill level requirements. This means that they must possess the right qualifications, skills, and experience that correspond to the UK-recognized job title for which they are applying. It is important to note that, regardless of job title, any position must pay an appropriate salary in order to qualify for a defined CoS. This salary must be equal or greater than £25,600 per year. Applicants should also have evidence of their English language abilities.

Undefined CoS

An undefined Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is a type of UK visa that is available for those who are looking to live and work in the UK on a long-term basis. It allows employers to sponsor skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland who are not eligible for a defined CoS.

To qualify for an undefined CoS, applicants must have an offer of employment from a licensed UK employer, meet the appropriate qualifications for the job, be able to speak and write in English, and have sufficient funds to support themselves during their stay. Applicants must also pass a points-based system test that assesses the applicant’s skills, experience, and language proficiency.

The annual CoS allocation year runs from 6 April until 5 April each year. During this time, employers will be allocated a certain number of CoS depending on their industry sector, as well as the number of vacancies they have available. Employers will also be required to provide additional information to the UK Border Agency in order to apply for a CoS.

If an applicant is granted a CoS, it will be valid for 12 months and can be renewed for up to five years. Once the five-year period has been completed, the applicant will need to apply for another type of UK visa if they wish to continue living and working in the UK.

In summary, an undefined CoS is a type of UK visa that allows employers to sponsor skilled workers from outside the EEA and Switzerland. Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria and pass a points-based system test in order to obtain a CoS. The CoS will be valid for 12 months and can be renewed for up to five years.

Definition of undefined CoS

The Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is a document used by employers in the United Kingdom to sponsor non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals for a visa. A CoS is required for any foreign worker who wishes to work in the UK. An undefined CoS is one that does not specify a job title, salary or length of stay. It is used for applicants who are already in the UK and wish to switch to a different type of visa.

An undefined CoS can also be used if an employer is unsure which category their role fits into, or if an applicant has applied for multiple roles but hasn’t yet been offered one. The eligibility criteria for obtaining an undefined CoS are the same as for obtaining a defined CoS, such as meeting the minimum income threshold and providing evidence of maintenance funds.

Examples of jobs that qualify for an undefined CoS include those where the job role doesn’t fit into any specific category, or where the employer is unsure which category to apply for. This could include roles in IT, healthcare, education, or business administration. In all cases, the employer must demonstrate that the position is genuine and not intended to fill a permanent or seasonal vacancy. 

It is important to note that an undefined CoS cannot be used for positions that require an Immigration Health Surcharge. This means that positions in healthcare or other professions which require extensive training will not be eligible.

Eligibility criteria for undefined CoS

The UK government’s Points Based System (PBS) has several criteria that an applicant must meet in order to qualify for an undefined Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). Generally, the applicant must be a qualified professional who is able to work in the UK in their field. 

The applicant will need to demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and qualifications to carry out the job in the UK, as well as evidence of relevant professional qualifications or experience. Applicants may also need to provide proof of English language proficiency in order to meet eligibility criteria for undefined CoS. 

In addition, applicants must be earning a minimum salary for the job role that they are applying for. This varies depending on the profession, but it generally must be at least £30,000 per year before tax. If the salary is lower than this, then the employer will need to provide justification why the individual is suitable for the role. 

Applicants will also need to show that they meet certain financial requirements, such as having enough funds to cover the cost of living in the UK during their stay. They may also need to provide evidence of health insurance and other immigration documents. 

The application process for an undefined CoS is similar to that of a defined CoS. However, there are more restrictions and criteria which must be met in order to be eligible. Employers must ensure that any applicant meets these requirements before submitting an application.

Examples of jobs that qualify for undefined CoS

Highly skilled occupations in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and digital technology. This includes roles such as software engineers, software developers, computer analysts, web developers, systems analysts, research scientists, mathematicians, network architects, computer programmers, electronic engineers and robotics engineers. 

Creative and artistic occupations. This includes roles such as photographers, graphic designers, fashion designers, editors, animators and choreographers. 

Leadership roles such as corporate directors, chief executives, chief financial officers, senior managers and heads of departments.

Medical professionals such as doctors, surgeons, consultants, radiographers, dentists and nurses. 

Other jobs that require specialist skills such as geologists, aeronautical engineers, economists and IT technicians. 

Those involved in teaching roles such as academics, language teachers and vocational instructors. 

Religious workers and members of the clergy. 

Businesspersons and entrepreneurs looking to set up a business or invest in the UK. 

International sportspeople who are part of a governing body-endorsed international competition. 

Those eligible for private medical treatment in the UK.

Points allocation system

The points-based system is used to assess the eligibility of applicants for a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). A valid CoS is necessary for any non-EEA nationals applying for entry into the UK. The points-based system is used to determine if an applicant is eligible for a CoS, as well as whether or not they meet the eligibility criteria for the specific visa category.

The points-based system is divided into five tiers: Tier 1 for those with the highest potential; Tier 2 for skilled workers; Tier 4 for students; Tier 5 for temporary workers; and Tier 6 for sports people and creative artists. For each tier, applicants must demonstrate that they meet the required criteria set by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

Under the points-based system, applicants can be awarded points based on their skills and qualifications. Applicants can be awarded up to 50 points under various criteria such as age, English language skills, qualifications, past earnings, sponsorship status, experience, and UK job offer. To qualify for a CoS, applicants must score a minimum number of points. The exact number of points required depends on which tier the applicant is applying under.

Once the applicant has scored the minimum number of points required, they must then submit a completed application form and pay the appropriate fee. Once UKVI has reviewed the application, they will issue a Certificate of Sponsorship if the applicant meets all of the eligibility criteria.

It is important to note that if an applicant does not have enough points, they may be able to apply for an exception in certain circumstances. An exception may be granted if the applicant can demonstrate why they should be considered despite not meeting the required points score.

Application process

The application process for both a defined and an undefined Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) can be quite different. 

For a defined CoS, the employer is responsible for submitting an application to the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) service on behalf of their employee. They must submit a Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code, which identifies the job role, as well as evidence to show that the role meets the specific eligibility criteria. Once the application has been accepted by UKVI, a reference number is issued and this is used to apply for the CoS.

For an undefined CoS, applicants will need to submit their own application directly to UKVI. This includes providing evidence that they meet the specific eligibility criteria and that they have been sponsored by an employer who is registered with UKVI as a sponsor. The CoS applicant will also need to provide proof of their qualifications and experience, as well as evidence of funds available to support them during their stay in the UK. Once the application has been accepted by UKVI, they will issue a reference number which will allow the applicant to apply for the CoS.

Once an application has been approved and a CoS has been issued, applicants will then need to apply for a visa in order to legally enter and stay in the UK. Applicants should be aware that visas are valid for either 6 months or 2 years depending on the type of visa applied for and that renewals may be necessary.

Sponsorship duration

The duration of sponsorship will vary depending on whether you have a defined or undefined Certificate of Sponsorship.

For defined CoS, the sponsoring employer can choose the length of time they wish to sponsor the worker, up to a maximum of 5 years. This means that the worker may need to apply for a new CoS after the initial 5 year period.

For undefined CoS, the sponsoring employer is able to offer an unlimited period of sponsorship, but the worker is only permitted to remain in the UK for up to 2 years at a time. After this 2 year period, the worker will need to leave the UK and apply for a new CoS if they wish to stay longer. 

It is important to note that the worker will be required to leave the UK before their sponsorship expires. If they do not, they may not be eligible for future sponsorship and could be liable for deportation.

Renewal process

The renewal process for a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) in the UK depends on whether the CoS is defined or undefined. 

For a defined CoS, the sponsor needs to renew the CoS before it expires and continue to meet the eligibility criteria for the category in which it was granted. The renewal period for defined CoS is usually six months. For an undefined CoS, the employer must first obtain a new Certificate of Sponsorship before they can renew the existing one. This is because undefined CoS are granted on a case-by-case basis and each case is unique.

When applying for a renewal, the employer must provide the same documents as they did when they originally applied for the CoS, such as proof of qualifications, employment history and English language proficiency. They may also be required to provide additional evidence if they have changed their job role or if their salary has increased. 

Additionally, employers must prove that they have not violated any immigration laws or regulations during the duration of the CoS and that they are still meeting all of their responsibilities as a sponsor. This includes ensuring that the employee has been paid in accordance with their contract and that they have had access to suitable accommodation and living standards. 

Sponsors will also need to show that they have conducted the necessary Right to Work checks on their employees. Once these checks have been completed, sponsors can submit an application to renew their CoS. 

The Home Office will review all applications and decide whether or not to approve the renewal. If approved, the renewal process will be complete and the employer will be able to continue sponsoring their employee.

How to get a CoS

If you are looking to work in the UK, then you will need a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to be eligible to apply for a skilled worker visa. A CoS is an electronic document provided by the Home Office and issued by your employer that confirms you have a job offer from a licensed sponsor.

In order to get a CoS, you must meet certain eligibility criteria. First, you must have a valid job offer from a licensed sponsor, and the job offer must meet the skilled worker criteria. You also need to have the necessary qualifications and/or experience required for the job. Additionally, if you are a non-EU citizen, you may need to pass the Resident Labour Market Test, which shows that there are no suitable workers within the UK who could fill the job. 

Once you have met the eligibility criteria, you can apply for a CoS through your sponsor. The application process will involve filling out an online form and providing supporting documents such as proof of your qualifications and/or experience, evidence of your language skills, and proof that you have passed the Resident Labour Market Test. Your sponsor will then submit your application and await approval from the Home Office. 

Once approved, your sponsor will issue you with an electronic CoS which will enable you to apply for a skilled worker visa. In order to apply for a visa, you must score a certain number of points under the points-based system, which is based on your qualifications, salary and occupation. Once you have enough points, you can then make an application for a skilled worker visa.

Finally, once your skilled worker visa is approved, you will be able to start your new job in the UK. It’s important to note that your CoS only lasts for six months so you will need to renew it when it expires.

Getting a CoS is not always an easy process, but it’s essential if you want to work in the UK. Knowing what eligibility criteria you need to meet and how the application process works will help ensure that you can get a CoS quickly and smoothly so that you can start your new job in the UK.

Eligibility criteria for obtaining a CoS

In order to obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) in the UK, there are certain eligibility criteria that must be met. Applicants must have a valid job offer in place from an employer who is a licensed sponsor, and the job must be at a suitable skill level and meet the minimum salary requirements for the job type.

The job must be in an approved occupation in the current Shortage Occupation List, and the applicant must have relevant qualifications and experience for the role. 

In addition, the employer must be able to provide evidence that there is no other suitable candidate from within the EEA or Switzerland. The employer must also be able to demonstrate that they are offering a genuine vacancy that meets all applicable UK employment laws and regulations. 

Finally, employers must agree to undertake the required sponsorship duties and comply with the specified CoS requirements. If the employer is not already registered with the Home Office as a licensed sponsor, they must apply for a sponsorship licence before they can issue a CoS.

Application process

The application process for a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) varies depending on whether you are applying for a defined or an undefined CoS. 

If you are applying for a defined CoS, then you will need to submit an application form to UK Visas and Immigration. This application form should include all of the relevant information about your job and the individual that is applying for the CoS. Once your application has been received and processed, then you will receive a decision letter from UK Visas and Immigration that will let you know whether or not your application has been approved.

If you are applying for an undefined CoS, then the process is slightly different. The employer must first register with the Home Office as a sponsor, which includes supplying relevant information about the company. Once this has been done, the employer can then submit an application for a CoS to UK Visas and Immigration. Again, this application will include all of the relevant information about the job and the individual that is applying for the CoS. If the application is approved, then the employer will be issued with a CoS and can start recruiting for the position. 

Regardless of which type of CoS you are applying for, it is important to remember that there are certain eligibility criteria that must be met in order to be successful in your application. For example, you must have sufficient points under the Points-Based System, have enough money to support yourself during your stay in the UK, and have a valid visa. Furthermore, the job must meet certain criteria in terms of salary and skill level in order for you to qualify for a CoS. 

It is also important to note that applications can take several weeks to process and you may need to attend an interview at the Home Office before your CoS is issued. Therefore, it is important to plan ahead and give yourself enough time to make sure that your application is successful.

Annual CoS allocation year

The UK government has a yearly limit on the number of Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) it issues. This is known as the Annual CoS Allocation Year. Each year, the government sets a cap on the number of CoS that can be issued. This means that not all applicants for a CoS will necessarily be successful. 

It is important to note that the yearly CoS cap applies to both defined and undefined CoS. Therefore, if the yearly cap has been reached, it is not possible to obtain either type of CoS. The cap also applies to sponsorships that are longer than 12 months. 

The exact amount of CoS available each year changes from time to time. It is therefore important to check the current figures with the UKVI before applying for a CoS. Additionally, employers who wish to hire foreign nationals must ensure that they have a valid CoS prior to the individual entering the UK. Failure to do so can result in fines and other penalties.

Conclusion

A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is an important document for anyone looking to work in the UK. It is essential for gaining entry into the country, as it provides evidence that an individual has been sponsored by a UK employer. Depending on the individual’s job and qualifications, they may be eligible for either a Defined or Undefined CoS.

Defined CoS are available to those working in certain skilled occupations, and require the employer to meet certain criteria in order to obtain one. Undefined CoS are available to those who do not qualify for a Defined CoS, and they may be allocated to any type of occupation, including lower-skilled ones.

In order to receive a CoS, applicants must meet certain eligibility criteria and pass the points-based system. There is also an annual limit on how many CoS are issued each year, and employers must renew their sponsorship every few years in order to continue employing foreign nationals.

By understanding the differences between a Defined and Undefined CoS, as well as the application process for obtaining one, employers can ensure that their foreign workers have the correct documentation necessary to legally work in the UK.

How we can help

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