Obtaining a Certificate of Sponsorship

Corporate Immigration

Your ticket to growing your business by hiring and retaining the right people, with the right skills, from around the world.

What is a Certificate of Sponsorship?

A Certificate of Sponsorship allows businesses to hire migrant workers under Tier 2 and Tier 5 visas of the Points Based System. If growing your business by hiring the right people with the right skills involves hiring migrant workers, obtaining a Certificate of Sponsorship is essential.

Note: Only businesses with a Sponsorship License can obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship

Types of Certificates of Sponsorship

Applying for the right Certificate of Sponsorship is essential. Here's a brief outline to help you understand the differences:

Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship

You'll need a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship if you're looking to hire a new employee from outside the European Economic Area with a salary less than £153,500.

You will need to meet the criteria set out by the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) before sending your application to the Home Office for consideration. The panel sits on the 11th of each month and judge applications with regard to:

  • The immigration cap of 20,700 people per annum
  • Whether the role is detailed on the Shortage Occupation List
  • Those who apply to work in a role which requires a PhD and is in a research field
  • Those who have carried out a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) with higher salaries attracting more points

Note: As of 1 January 2014, Bulgarians and Romanians have gained the same rights to work in the UK as other EU citizens.

Croatia joined the EU on 1 July 2013. Croatian nationals can now exercise 'free movement' rights under European law to travel to and live in the UK.

However, as with the previous two rounds of EU enlargement, Croatia's EU accession treaty permits Member States to impose transitional restrictions on Croatian workers' free movement rights for up to seven years, in order to guard against disruption of labour markets. In some cases Croatian nationals will need permission to work in the UK and will require a certificate of sponsorship.

Unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship

Each year, Tier 2 Sponsors are asked to request an allocation of Certificates of Sponsorship based on their usage in the previous year and their expectations for the year ahead. The Home Office considers the request and credits an allocation of Unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship to the company.

These are typically designed to retain current employees but there are some exceptions. Sponsors can assign Unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship in the case of:

  • Intra-Company Transfers - where a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer license is held
  • Existing migrants who are extending their employment with the same employer
  • New employees who are 'switching' their employment from specific PBS categories
  • Those seeking admission to fill a vacancy attracting a salary of £153,500 or more
  • Tier 2 Sports People or Ministers of Religion
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