April 2015 is the first time the UKVI has rolled out an automatic renewal of Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) allocations. Only some sponsors were selected by the Home Office. This meant, for those selected, that on 6 April 2015 the CoS allocation on the Sponsor Management System (SMS) automatically renewed based on the previous year and a request was not required.

The advantage is that sponsors did not have to diarise and submit a CoS renewal between January and April before the annual allocation expired. The disadvantage is that sponsors could not select how many CoS they required for this year. The number that was granted to sponsors was based on the number of CoS assigned the year before. Therefore, if a sponsor did not use any CoS allocation in 2014, they could have received a zero allocation.

If you are unsure if a CoS allocation was granted automatically, you can check on the sponsors’ summary section of the SMS.

If no CoS allocation was given but the business has plans to sponsor workers this year (either new employees or extending existing employees), then it is possible to request an increase in the CoS allocation. However, do note that requests could take up to 18 weeks to be processed and therefore it is vital to plan ahead. In addition, the Home Office may ask for detailed reasons as to why a specific number of CoS allocation has been requested. Therefore, we recommend that all sponsors should carefully assess the number of CoS required and reasoning behind the figure before submitting any request on the SMS.