Allocation Of Certificates Of Sponsorship For 2011/2012

2nd March 2011

The UK Border Agency has today published guidance on the process of applying for an allocation of Certificates of Sponsorship for the twelve month period commencing 6th April 2011.

Employers with a sponsor licence must apply prior to 11 March 2011 for their new allocation of “unrestricted” COS.

From 6 April 2011 to 5 April 2012 the total number of restricted COS available to sponsors will be 20,700. This limit applies to Tier 2 (General) jobs that attract a salary of less than £150,000 per annum and which are to be filled by a migrant who is entering the UK from overseas.

The limit will not apply to:-

  • Extensions – where employers need to extend leave for a migrant who is already in the UK and working under Tier 2 (General) or as a work permit holder;
  • Changes of employment – where the migrant is already in the UK with valid leave under Tier 2 (General) or as a work permit holder which was granted before 5 April 2011 and who wants to change employer;
  • Switching immigration category – where a COS is required for a migrant who is already in the UK in another immigration category of stay and who wants to switch in-country into Tier 2 (General) where this is allowed under the immigration rules;
  • New hires earning over £150,000 – where the migrant will be entering the UK from overseas and the annual salary for the job is £150,000 or more.
  • In addition, all Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) Certificates of Sponsorship are unrestricted.

Applying for an allocation of unrestricted COS

The COS year (the allocation period) will run from 6 April 2011 to 5 April 2012. This means that on 6 April 2011 the COS allocation for Tier 2 (General) and Intra Company Transfer will be set to zero unless a request is made now for a fresh allocation. Employers must make the request by email to by completing a standard request form

The Magrath UK Immigration team will be pleased to work with you to request the COS allocation for the new year.

Applying for a restricted COS

Employers who require a COS for a “restricted” job will have to apply for it using a new on-line application form. The applications for restricted COS will be assessed against a points table and will be allocated to sponsors on a monthly basis throughout the year. Salary will be one of the key determining factors when deciding whether to grant a COS.

The application process for restricted COS will open in mid-March 2011. The UK Border Agency will publish guidance on the process of applying for a restricted COS in the next couple of weeks.

For further information please contact us at: or on 020 7495 3003