Restricted CoS allocations
The final quarter of 2017 ended with challenges to Restricted COS allocations, where increasing numbers of requests rolled over to the following month without a decision. In December 2017 the minimum points required for a successful application rose to a shocking 55 points, when previous months only required 21 points for success. The current number of certificates available for allocation this month is 1,409 and it is expected applications will again need to meet the same (if not higher) points threshold.
Unrestricted CoS allocations
For Unrestricted CoS allocations, some Tier 2 sponsors were bemused when having opted to use the Tier 2 and 5 priority change of circumstances service and paid the requisite £200 fee for an expedited service, then promptly received an email from the Home Office for further information to be able to deal with the request to expedite! Sponsors would have been forgiven for thinking this was a mockery of the ‘paid’ priority service. Well mockery or not, these requests could potentially become the norm for 2018, with the Home Office pouring over growing numbers of CoS requests to ascertain whether they will be assigned for genuine roles in the UK. With this in mind, it is beneficial to have all of the following information to hand when using the priority service to expedite a CoS request:
- A detailed description of the post you intend to assign a CoS for. This must include: Job title, details of duties, salary, details of the skills, experience and qualifications required for the role, and Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) code.
- Details of the migrant you have identified for the role, including: name, date of birth, nationality, passport number and current immigration status.
- Details of any attempts you have made to recruit a settled worker to fill the post, for example:
- Any job advertisements you have posted (copies will need to be provided).
- How many people applied.
- Why any applicants so far have not been suitable.
- Why the vacancy needs to be filled by a sponsored migrant.
Once the above information has been forwarded to the Home Office, the aim is to make a decision in five working days.
New Unrestricted CoS allocations from 5 April 2018
Many Tier 2 sponsors should now be receiving reminders to renew their COS allocations for the upcoming year 2018/19. Tier 2 sponsors who have yet to assign any certificates will need to be aware that all unused certificates will expire on 5 April 2018.
It is therefore important for sponsors to take stock, assess their business needs, forecast numbers for new transfers/new hires and/or existing sponsored workers who need to extend their work permission in the upcoming year and submit their COS allocation requests well before 5 April 2018. Sponsors will need to submit their requests via their Sponsorship Management System (SMS).