Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship UK guidance

A Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship (cos) may be allocated to a Licenced Sponsor following a successful request to the Tier 2 Limits Team via the Sponsorship Management System. Once awarded and available on a Licence, a Certificate may then be assigned to a potential migrant worker. Each Certificate of Sponsorship has a unique number which may validate a Tier 2 visa application. Once a visa is granted the Certificate of Sponsorship holds your personal information and details about the job you will be undertaking here in the United Kingdom.

What is an un-restricted Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship?

During the initial application for a Tier 2 Employer Sponsor Licence it is necessary to state how many Tier 2 Certificates of Sponsorship you require. These are called unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship. There is no limit to the number a single sponsor may be awarded.

Workers who fall under the below categories may be granted an unrestricted Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship:

  1. When the vacancy in which the Sponsor seeks to fill appears on the Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List .
  2. In the case where a position’s annual salary is above £159,600 the applicants contribution can be considered highly valuable.
  3. Tier 2 (General) workers who are already employed with you and need to extend their current leave.
  4. Tier 2 (General) workers who are already working for you in the United Kingdom and are changing jobs.  Furthermore, the new job is in a different standard occupational classification (SOC) code.
  5. Tier 2 (General) workers who are already in the UK and who want to start work for a new sponsor.
  6. Individuals whom are already in the UK under another immigration category and qualify to switch into Tier 2 (General).
  7. Croatian nationals.

What is a Restricted Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship?

Candidates who do not qualify in the unrestricted category, are required to apply for a restricted certificate of sponsorship. A set allocated number of Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship applications in this category are awarded every month via the sponsor management system. In order to qualify for a restricted Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship (RCos), the sponsor is required to carry out a Resident Labour Market Test.


Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship are limited, and monthly allocations will stand scrutiny by the Home Office before they are issued to the company.

  1. You will need a Tier 2 restricted certificate if you want to employ new workers who are not ‘high earners’ and who will apply for leave to enter the UK under tier 2 (General).
  2. A dependant of a person that was last granted leave under Tier 4 will need a Tier 2 restricted Cos.

What is the Certificate of Sponsorship Processing Time?

The processing time for a Certificate of sponsorship in the restricted category varies depending on demand. Most recently applications have rolled over to the following months as they have failed to exceed the points threshold for the allocation month.

What is the Certificate of Sponsorship Cost?

The Home office processing fee for a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship is £199 (no VAT)

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