Defined CoS application to Home Office

Defined Certificate of Sponsorship applications frequently cause problems for sponsor employers. In this article we explain requirements and some of the challenges of Defined CoS applications.

Anyone who intends to apply for skilled worker visa would first need to get a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). Those applying from overseas would need a Defined CoS (DCoS). Only A-rated sponsors can apply for Defined COS (DCoS). A-rated sponsor has no ongoing compliance issues that cause sponsor licence to be downgraded to B-rating.There is no Home Office fee to apply for a DCoS.

Home Office processing decision time for Defined CoS application

Any Defined CoS (DCoS) requests that are considered by Home Office as straightforward usually take anything between 1-2 working days to a couple of weeks. Other DCoS applications may take a couple of months. Particularly DCoS applications from care sector sponsors, construction industry sponsors, hospitality industry may face delays.

Defined CoS request application - Home Office delays late decisions

What should be included in Defined CoS application

The Defined CoS application must include:

• the number of DCoS required

• the job title and standard occupation classification code (SOC)

o for SOCs 6135 and 6136, the location of the role

• the salary

• how many hours they will work each week – an average figure is acceptable if this varies

• an explanation of how it meets the relevant salary option, including:

o whether the post meets the Immigration Salary List criteria

o whether the worker has a PhD and if so, it should state:

  1. why the qualification is relevant to the job
  2. whether the PhD is in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) subject) and if so, how

• the work start and end date.

Defined CoS request may prompt further scrutiny from Home Office

Home Office make a pre-assessment to determine the risk of non-compliance with the guidance and Immigration Rules, for example, the job description details are incomplete or suggest non-compliance or a non-genuine vacancy or there is a marker on the licence that requires further action. Only DCoS request cases that seem to meet the skill and salary criteria in the initial sift and do not have a marker that requires further action do not need further information or review. These cases can be put forward for approval through the automated DCoS panel.

In case of the other DCoS requests, Home Office will contact sponsor employer for further information. Home Office usually allow 5 working days strict deadline for a response. 5 working days a really short time considering that sponsors are usually asked to provide many documents and information.

Genuine employment checks

Genuine employment checks are designed to make sure the sponsor is able to offer the job described in the application, that the job exists and hasn’t been created for the worker, and the numbers requested are justified. The checks could include, but are not limited to:

• salary confirmation (including hours per week)

• clarification of occupation code and skill level requesting: o references to confirm the worker’s experience if appropriate o job descriptions (to compare to Appendix Skilled Occupations)

• hierarchy chart showing current employees and any vacancies that need to be filled

• service contracts if appropriate to ensure the sponsor is responsible for providing a non-routine service or project

• previous CoS usage and DCoS requests

• where workers are named, check for any links to the sponsor, such as previous employment or family relationships

• whether any outside agency was involved in the recruitment

• for regulated industries such as health or education, any inspection reports issued by the regulator to check their views on staff to client ratios and for appropriate registration.

Checking salary

Home Office must check the salary in the DCoS request is in line with those listed in Appendix Skilled Occupations in the Immigration Rules depending on any salary points that might be claimed. If you think a worker wouldn’t score salary points, you must discuss rejecting the case with your line manager.

Responding to Home Office request for further information defined CoS

If the sponsor responds and provides all the requested information, Home Office must check the information provided by the sponsor is consistent with the application details. When all the details meet the immigration rules and guidance criteria, the DCoS request should be granted.

 If the sponsor does not respond by the deadline date or the response is not satisfactory, your DCoS request will be rejected. Sponsor employer will receive a notification from Home Office advising them that their application has been rejected. Unfortunately it is not the only bad news. Frequently Home Office caseworker makes referral for compliance visit to sponsor employer.

When a compliance visit is arranged to audit sponsor employer, the DCoS request may be put on hold until the audit is completed.

What if Defined CoS application is rejected

When Defined CoS application is rejected by Home Office you may want to seek legal advice to assess your options. Depending on the circumstances and reasons for the rejection, you may be able to reapply for Defined CoS.