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Certificates of Sponsorship

If growing your business by hiring the right people with the right skills involves hiring migrant workers, obtaining a Certificate of Sponsorship through your Sponsor Licence is often essential.

Only businesses with a Sponsorship Licence can obtain 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.

What is a Certificate of Sponsorship?

Certificate of Sponsorship allows businesses to hire migrant workers under Tier 2 and Tier 5 visas of the Points Based System.

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 £155,300.

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 judges 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

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 £155,300 or more
  • Tier 2 Sports People or Ministers of Religion

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