How do I sponsor a migrant worker?
Applying for a restricted certificate of sponsorship
This page explains how you can apply for a restricted Tier 2 (General) certificate of sponsorship to employ a skilled migrant worker under the points-based system.
For more information about restricted certificates of sponsorship, see annual allocations of certificates of sponsorship.
You can apply for a restricted certificate of sponsorship if:
- you are an A-rated Tier 2 (General) sponsor; and
- you want a migrant worker to do a job at NQF level 6 (or the equivalent in Scotland); and
- you will assign the restricted certificate of sponsorship to the migrant worker within 3 months of the date when it is granted; and
- you have conducted a resident labour market test, or can confirm that the job is exempt from the resident labour market test; and
- the annual salary for the job is above £20,000 but below £150,000; and
- the migrant will apply from overseas for a Tier 2 (General) visa, and will score at least the minimum number of points required; or
- the migrant is already in the UK as the dependant of a Tier 4 student, and will score at least the minimum number of points required.
Your application for a restricted certificate of sponsorship must be submitted by (one of) your current Level 1 user(s).
You do not need to provide any documents when you submit your application but we may ask you to send us additional information, including any relevant documents before we can make a decision on your application.
How many restricted certificates are available?
For the year 6 April 2013 to 5 April 2014, there are a limited number of restricted certificates available each month. The provisional monthly allocations are as follows:
|Allocation Period||Provisional monthly allocation|
|Up to 6 April 2012||1725|
|7 April 2012 - 5 May 2012||1725|
|6 May 2012 - 5 June 2012||1725|
|6 June 2012 - 5 July 2012||1725|
|6 July 2012 - 5 August 2012||1725|
|6 August 2012 - 5 September 2012||1725|
|6 September 2012 - 5 October 2012||1725|
|6 October 2012 - 5 November 2012||1725|
|6 November 2012 - 5 December 2012||1725|
|6 December 2012 - 5 January 2013||1725|
|6 January 2013 - 5 February 2013||1725|
|6 February 2013 - 5 March 2013||1725|
|6 March 2013 - 5 April 2013||1725|
|6 April 2013 - 5 May 2013||1725|
|6 May 2013 - 5 June 2013||1725|
|6 June 2013 - 5 July 2013||1725|
|6 July 2013 - 5 August 2013||1725|
|6 August 2013 - 5 September 2013||1725|
|6 September 2013 - 5 October 2013||1725|
|6 October 2013 - 5 November 2013||1725|
|6 November 2013 - 5 December 2013||1725|
|6 December 2013 - 5 January 2014||1725|
|6 January 2014 - 5 February 2014||1725|
|6 February 2014 - 5 March 2014||1725|
To find out how many restricted certificates have been allocated to date, see the Allocations page.
Making an application
Applications for restricted certificates of sponsorship must be made using your sponsorship management system account.
To apply for a restricted certificate, you must be a Level 1 user. You cannot apply for a restricted certificate if your licence is B-rated or suspended. The application process takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes to complete.
You must be able to provide full details of the job, including:
- job title;
- SOC code (from the codes of practice or shortage occupation list); and
- gross annual salary.
You must be able to confirm that a resident labour market test has been conducted if required, or that the job is on the shortage occupation list.
Some questions on the sponsorship management system are 'validated'; if you fail to provide the information or the format is incorrect, an on-screen error message will advise you on how to correct this.
Applications for a restricted certificate of sponsorship will be scored and prioritised based on the following points table.
Type of Job
Job is on the list of Shortage Occupations
£20,300 - £20,999.99
Job is at PhD level and is in one of the SOC codes listed below this table
£21,000 - £21,999.99
Resident Labour Market Test Conducted (or the job is exempt from the Resident Labour Market Test)
£22,000 - £22,999.99
£23,000 - £23,999.99
£24,000 - £24,999.99
£25,000 - £25,999.99
£26,000 - £26,999.99
£27,000 - £27,999.99
£28,000 - £31,999.99
£32,000 - £45,999.99
£46,000 - £74,999.99
£75,000 - £99,999.99
£100,000 - £152,099.99
The PhD level SOC codes are
- 2111 - Chemical scientists
- 2112 - Biological scientists and biochemists
- 2113 - Physical scientists
- 2114 - Social and humanities scientists
- 2119 - Natural and social science professionals not elsewhere classified (for Tier 2 this includes researchers in research organisations other than universities)
- 2150 - Research and development managers
- 2311 - Higher education teaching professionals
Your application must score points from both columns but can only score points for one entry in the first column. For example if a job is in a shortage occupation but you have conducted a resident labour market test, your application will score 75 points from the first column, not 105.
You can apply for more than 1 restricted certificate of sponsorship in the same application if the employment details - job type, salary, employment start and end dates and resident labour market test details - are the same for each job. For example, if you intend to employ 3 people in the same job, on the same salary and for each person to start and end employment on the same dates.
If many of these details are the same but a small number are different, you can submit an application for 1 of the jobs then use the 'Apply for restricted certificates of sponsorship based on a previous application' function to apply for others. The employment-related details of the first application will be pre-entered in the new certificates, but can be amended. Each application would be submitted and considered separately, and you would receive a separate decision on each.
Monthly allocation process
All applications received up to and including the 5th of each month will be considered on the 11th of the same month - the 'allocation date'. For example if you apply between 6 May and 5 June, your application will be decided on 11 June. But the monthly application cycle for April and May 2013 will be as follows:
. applications received between 6 April 2013 and 17 April 2013 will be decided on 19 April 2013;
. applications received between 18 April and 5 May will be decided on 11 May 2013.
We will approve valid applications solely on the number of points scored, starting with the highest. In the event that the number of valid applications received is greater than the number of certificates of sponsorship available, those applications scoring the lowest number of points are less likely to be approved.
It is possible that in any given month the number of applications will exceed the number of certificates of sponsorship available and we will reach a point where there are more applications that score the same amount of points than we have certificate of sponsorships available. For example, we have allocated all applications scoring between 105 points (the maximum possible) and 33 points, and are left with more applications that have scored 32 points than we have CoS left to allocate. In the event that this happens, we cannot make a fair and objective decision as to whether any of those applications are in some way more urgent, or worthy than any other, therefore we will either approve all of them, or none of them.
We will only approve all applications that score the same number of points if it means that we exceed our monthly allocation limit by 100 or less.
- On 11 January 2014, all valid applications scoring between 105 points and 33 points have been approved.
- we have 150 CoS left to allocate
- there are 250 valid applications that all score 32 points
In this example we will award CoS to all 250 applicants as it will only lead to our monthly allocation being exceeded no more than 100.
- On 11 January 2014, all valid applications scoring between 105 points and 33 points have been approved.
- we have 150 CoS left to allocate
- there are 400 valid applications that all score 32 points
In this example we will not allocate any CoS for any valid application scoring 32 points because to do so would mean that we would exceed our monthly limit by more than 100. We will however carry over the 150 unallocated CoS to the following month. Any CoS that have not been allocated at the end of the year will not be carried forward to the following year.
The decision we make will be based only on the number of points your application has scored. No other information or circumstances will be taken into account and there is no right of appeal.
If your application is successful, your restricted CoS will appear in your sponsorship management system account on the same day that your application is granted. If your application is unsuccessful, you can apply again at any time.
In the event that the monthly allocation process is undersubscribed, we will carry over any CoS that remain unallocated, to the following month. For example if we only receive 1,400 valid applications for the period 6th December 2013 to the 5th January 2014, we will allocate 1,400 CoS on 11th December 2013 and the remaining 100 will be carried over to the following month.
There may be particular compelling circumstances where a CoS can be granted exceptionally, before the next round of applications are considered. Any such application will be considered on its individual merits and in line with any relevant policy at the time. It is not possible to draw up a definitive list of circumstances that might be defined as 'particularly compelling', however approvals of such applications should be rare and only for genuine, urgent reasons. Examples might be:
- where there have been delays caused by us resulting in a newly licensed sponsor needing a CoS for a migrant who is due to start work before the 11th of the next month.
- a consultant surgeon has been recruited and needs to be appointed immediately because they have patients listed for life-saving surgery before the 11th of the following month.
We will not consider any application that is made due to delays caused by you that could have been avoided. For example, where a recruitment/appointment was delayed because a member of your staff was absent from work.
If you need to apply in such circumstances, you must submit your application as normal via your SMS account, but must also email us at Tier2Limits@ukba.gsi.gov.uk explaining that you want your application to be considered urgently; and the reasons why your application cannot wait until the next allocation date. We may ask for documentary evidence to support your application and we may also need to visit you.
We will only consider any such application where, had the application been made earlier, it would have been granted on the last allocation date, but even then there is no guarantee that any application will be granted. Each individual case will be judged on its own merits and we will expect to see robust evidence as to why the application could not have been made earlier and why it cannot wait until the next allocation date.
We cannot guarantee a timescale for considering any application for urgent consideration. For example it may take longer if we need to visit you, or request any documentary evidence to support your application. If we cannot verify an application before the next allocation date it will be considered for the one after, but only of we can verify it in time.
Any application for urgent consideration that we refuse will not be carried forward to the next allocation date for a decision. Where we do grant an application for urgent consideration, we will reduce the next monthly allocation accordingly.
After you have submitted your application
When you have completed your application for a restricted certificate of sponsorship you will receive on-screen confirmation that your application has been submitted. For details of the criteria that we apply when considering your application, and the process of allocating restricted certificates, please refer to the Guidane for sponsors. You can find this under 'Policy and law' on the right side of this page
Assigning a restricted certificate of sponsorship
If you are granted a restricted certificate of sponsorship, your Tier 2 (General) allocation will be updated on the sponsorship management system.
You will then have 3 months to assign it, after which, it will expire.
You can only assign the certificate of sponsorship for the job you described in your online application. If you assign a restricted certificate for any other job, we will revoke your sponsor licence.
If you have been granted a restricted certificate of sponsorship but you cannot assign it within 3 months, or you no longer require it for a restricted job, you must contact us so that we can reclaim it and amend your allocation.
Reclaimed and returned certificate of sponsorships
If we find, after we have granted you a restricted certificate of sponsorship, that it should never have been granted, we will reclaim if from your sponsorship management system account. This might happen where we are taking action against you, for example if you made a false statement when applying for the certificate of sponsorship.
If, after we have granted you a restricted CoS, you decide that you no longer need it, you must do either of the following:
- if the CoS you no longer need formed part of an application for a number of identical CoS, you must first assign the ones you do need and then email us at Tier2Limits@ukba.gsi.gov.uk to let us know that it can be returned; or
- if the CoS you no longer need did not form part of an application for a number of identical CoS, you can email us straight away at Tier2Limits@ukba.gsi.gov.uk to let us know that it can be returned.
It is important that you let us know about any restricted CoS which can be returned because we can then make them available to other sponsors who need them.
The status of any CoS that is returned or reclaimed will be updated in your SMS account so that it will display as 'returned' or 'reclaimed'.
A 'virtual document' assigned by an employer (which must be a licensed sponsor) to a migrant. The migrant must quote the certificate's reference number when applying for permission to work in the UK under Tier 2 or Tier 5 of the points-based system.
A 'virtual document' assigned by an education provider (which must be a licensed sponsor) to a migrant. The migrant must quote the reference number for their confirmation of acceptance for studies when they apply for permission to study in the UK under Tier 4 of the points-based system.
An IT system used by organisations that sponsor migrants under the points-based system. It allows sponsors to allocate certificates of sponsorship to migrants, carry out the administrative functions necessary to comply with their sponsor obligations and duties, and communicate information to us.