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Legal insights & industry updates

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Deadline for assigning certificates of sponsorship before salary increase

In advance of the minimum general salary threshold for visa sponsorship increasing on 4 April 2024, the Home Office has updated its sponsor guidance. Annex S2 of the guidance sets out deadlines for issuing certificates of sponsorship before the changes come into effect. 

To implement the changes to the immigration rules, the sponsor licence application form and sponsor management system (SMS) which organisations use to manage their sponsor licences, will be offline between 7pm on 2 April 2024 and 9am on 4 April 2024. During this period, licence holders will not be able to:

  • Apply for a sponsor licence, apply to add routes to your licence, or renew your licence
  • Apply for any Skilled Worker Defined Certificates of Sponsorship (DCoS)
  • Ask to increase or renew your allocation of Undefined Certificates of Sponsorship (UCoS)
  • Assign any Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) to workers you wish to sponsor

It's therefore essential that organisations carry out any of the above tasks as soon as possible to avoid this period of downtime and/or the impact of the salary threshold increase. 

Certificates of Sponsorship 

For an individual to make an application for permission to enter or remain in the UK, a sponsor must first assign a CoS, which is an electronic document with a unique reference number. Undefined CoS are issued to candidates who are applying for permission to stay within the UK and will be assigned from the sponsor’s annual CoS allocation. Where the candidate is overseas, they will require a DCoS, which requires a separate application to the Home Office. 

There has been a recent delay in the Home Office considering DCoS requests and there is currently a backlog. It is therefore important that sponsors understand changes to the Home Office guidance. 

DCoS applications made before 7pm on 2 April 2024

The Home Office will process as many DCoS applications as it can before this deadline. However, any outstanding DCoS applications will be cancelled and sponsors will need to make a new DCoS application when the SMS comes back online at 9am on 4 April. Crucially, once the system is back online, any new DCoS applications will need to be made in line with the revised salary thresholds. 

DCoS applications granted before 7pm on 2 April 2024

Any DCoS granted before 7pm on 2 April 2024 will also need to be assigned before this date and time if they are to be used. Any DCoS which are not assigned will be cancelled, and again, the sponsor will need to reapply from 9am on 4 April 2024 using the revised salary thresholds. 

UCoS allocations

Sponsors who have submitted requests to increase their UCoS allocation before 7pm 2 April 2024 will be considered as normal. However, any CoS assigned after 9am on 4 April 2024 will need to meet the new salary thresholds. Sponsors should note that requests to increase UCoS allocations can take up to 18 weeks to be processed. However, if UCoS are needed urgently there is a priority service available although there is limited availability, with only 60 priority service requests available each day. 

CoS assigned before 7 pm on 2 April 2024

Sponsors with UCoS and DCoS available to assign can continue to assign them before 7pm on 2 April 2024. CoS that are assigned before this will remain valid for use in applications for permission to enter or remain in the UK and those applications will be considered under the salary thresholds that apply before 4 April 2024, even where the visa application is made on or after that date.

Should your organisation require advice and assistance to navigate these changes, please get in touch with a member of our immigration team.


visas, immigration, skilledworkers, salarythreshold