The Home Office has announced plans to introduce a wide range of improvements to its IT systems, including the sponsorship management system (SMS). These enhancements are due to come into effect on 1 July 2013. The new features being introduced to the SMS are summarised below:

For all sponsors

  • Key dates related to sponsor licences to be displayed in the ‘Licence summary’ screen (changing from ‘Sponsor summary’) in SMS; specifically, the start, expiry and renewal dates for the following:
    • The sponsor licence;
    • Tier 2/5 Premium customer service (if applicable);
    • Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) status (Tier 4 sponsors only);
  • New message screen, presented to all Level 1 users immediately after logging in. This new feature will be used to provide important information, forthcoming key dates and events and answers to frequently asked questions, for instance common SMS user issues;
  • Introduction of an application and licence renewal tracking function. From 1 July, this will allow users to track the status and outcomes of applications submitted for licence renewal, Premium customer service and renewal (if applicable) and HTS status and renewal (Tier 4 only);
  • Revisions to the SMS menu structure and content. The changes include new menu options for the functions being added, removal of the ‘Outstanding payments’ item (as cheque payment will no longer be accepted for any sponsorship services from 1 July) and renaming of existing menu options for greater ease of navigation.

For Tier 2/5 sponsors

  • Addition of an online renewal function for Tier 2/5 Premium customer service;
  • Display of Premium customer service licence manager and senior account manager contact details (if applicable);
  • Advanced search function for certificates of sponsorship (CoS). This will allow SMS users for Tier 2/5 sponsors to more easily identify CoS that they have created using a wider range of search parameters;
  • Ability to delete CoS records, where the CoS have not been assigned;
  • Reduced and simplified options for reporting migrant activity;
  • Additional information about action plans issued to sponsors, including status updates and key dates
  • Revisions to the online sponsor application system including the addition of a much reduced, quicker and simpler process for existing sponsors to add tiers or categories to their licence.

In advance of these changes the Home Office has published, revised and re-formatted SMS user guides which can be found here on the Home Office website.