The annual allocation period for certificates of sponsorship ended on April 5 2012; any certificates remaining on the sponsor management system on that date will have been deleted. It appears that there are long delays in processing this year's allocation requests. Despite submitting requests to renew certificate of sponsorship allocations as early as January, many sponsors are finding that the requests have not yet been processed. This means that employers cannot sponsor further migrants under the Tier 2 category until the new allocation appears on the sponsor management system.

The UK Border Agency has indicated that due to the high number of requests being processed, it cannot expedite requests unless a certificate of sponsorship must be assigned urgently within the next seven days and the sponsor can provide sufficient justification (eg, leave expiring or an imminent appointment for leave consideration date).

The agency claims that if sponsors opt for the new premium service, any outstanding requests will be expedited (for further details please see "UK Border Agency confirms rollout of premium service for sponsors"). However, before a sponsor can sign up for this new service, it must undergo a compliance visit and obtain approval, which could delay matters further.

For further information on this topic please contact Ilda De Sousa at Kingsley Napley by telephone (+44 20 7814 1200), fax (+44 20 7490 2288) or email (idesousa@kingsleynapley.co.uk). The Kingsley Napley website can be accessed at www.kingsleynapley.co.uk.