Tier 2 registered sponsors need to be vigilant to ensure they correctly identify a restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) before they assign it to a sponsored employee.  Restricted CoS that are allocated from the UK Border Agency's (UKBA) monthly limit are being updated onto sponsors' SMS accounts automatically but sponsors cannot always identify them easily.

Under the permanent limits on Tier 2 that have been in effect since 6 April 2011, employers registered as sponsors need to apply to the UKBA for a CoS to allow them to employ anyone who needs a 'restricted' CoS. This includes new hires from outside the EEA whose salary packages are below £150,000pa.

Sponsors submit their applications for restricted CoS by the 5th of each month and the UKBA makes a decision by the 11th of each month. Successful sponsors' online sponsorship accounts are updated with their new CoS allocation, but the system is not able to flag up the restricted CoS. Employers must make sure they assign a restricted CoS where they should, as using an unrestricted CoS could put them in breach of their sponsor licence obligations.