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IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR SPONSOR LICENCE HOLDERS – Sponsors encouraged to see if any action needs to be taken on the Sponsor Management System before 7pm on Friday 27th November 2020

Posted by: Gherson Immigration

In advance of the UK’s new points-based immigration system, due to come into effective as of 1 December 2020 for non-EEA nationals, the Home Office have advised that a number of changes will take place to all existing sponsor licences to integrate them within the new rules. We provide a brief overview of these changes below.

Access to the Sponsor Management System (SMS)

Sponsors will be unable to access the SMS or the online Sponsor Application form from 7pm Friday 27 November 2020 until 9am on Tuesday 1 December 2020. This is to allow the Home Office to make essential updates to their IT systems during this period. 

Requests currently in progress

  • Any saved but incomplete applications in relation to adding routes to an existing licence will be deleted. These will need to be restarted when access is regained next week.
  • Certificates of Sponsorship for Tier 2 (General) or Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) migrants with the status ‘ready to go’ will be reverted to ‘work in progress’ and sponsors will be unable to assign them.
  • Tier 2 (General) or Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) Certificates of Sponsorship which have the status of ‘used’ or ‘assigned’ will not be affected. 

Is your licence due to expire between 27 November and 2 December? 

If this applies to you, and you wish to renew your licence, you are encouraged to submit a renewal application before 7pm on 27 November 2020 as you will be unable to submit such an application from 7pm on 27 November until 9am on 1 December 2020. If you do not, the Home Office will automatically extend your licence for a period of 7 calendar days, allowing you to submit an application to renew when the system restarts at 9am on Tuesday 1 December. If you do not submit an application to renew the licence within the 7 calendar day extension, the licence will lapse. 

Transition to new Points-based system

  • For Sponsors who currently hold a Tier 2 (General) and/or a Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) sponsor licence, the licence details will be automatically transferred to the new system. This will mean that existing Sponsors will automatically hold a sponsor licence in the new ‘Skilled Worker’ and/or the Intra-Company routes. The current licence expiry date will also be retained. 
  • Annual allocation will also transfer over automatically and any unassigned Certificates of Sponsorship will appear on the new system. Expiry dates of these will remain the same.
  • Any requests to increase the allocation or renew the annual allocation under Tier 2 (General) or Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) which are currently in progress will be considered, and, where appropriate, will be granted under the new rules.
  • The Certificate of Sponsorship categories on the SMS will be updated from 1 December 2020 and as such, any certificates assigned from this date will be on the basis of the new points based system. 

Outstanding Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (RCoS) applications

The Home Office have advised that all RCoS applications will be decided before 7pm on 27 November 2020. Therefore, applications for which additional information has been requested and has not yet been provided, will be rejected. Sponsors still wishing to fill the position for which the RCoS request was made, may still be able to do so. Please contact us for further information in respect of this. 

Certificates of Sponsorship which have been assigned to a worker, but have not yet been used

Transitional provisions have been put in place which will allow a Sponsor to ‘upgrade’ a Certificate of Sponsorship to the new ‘Skilled Worker’ category. Please contact us to discuss the current state of the certificate and what action you must take to ensure the application can progress. 

Gherson has a specialist team who deal with all matters relating to sponsor licences and work permits. If you are a UK sponsor and have queries regarding the transition to the new system, or if you wish to apply for an initial sponsor licence, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2020

Sarah Green 

  Sarah Green

  Immigration consultant in our Corporate Team

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