It is that of time of the year when most sponsors would have either received an email from UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) asking them to renew their CoS allocations or would have qualified for auto-allocation. Either way it is important, as always, to check your Sponsorship Management System (‘SMS’) to see whether you have qualified for auto-allocation or to apply for a renewal of your allocation.
The consequences of not knowing would mean that your allocations for this year expire on 5 April 2019 and you are then left with no allocations for the next year. If you intend on hiring new employees or your existing employees need to extend their leave, you would then be subject to a gruelling wait (standard UKVI processing times for allocation are 18 weeks) or pay £200.00 for priority service (which takes 5 working days) but can only be applied by telephone (and can sometimes become an impossible task).
The recommended approach is to check SMS to see if you have been allocated an adequate number of allocations, if not, you must be prepared to apply for a renewal of allocation in the next few days.
Applying for a renewal of allocation
The application for a renewal of yearly allocation is made using SMS. For most sponsors, there is no right number of allocations you can request as it is sometimes impossible to exactly predict the number of CoS needed. However, for all sponsors, they must conduct an internal evaluation and be prepared to justify their request. The UKVI can always ask for more information, although this does not always happen. If they do ask for more information, they usually request this within 10 days.
Before making an allocation, make sure you take the following steps:
- How many allocations did you have last year?
- How many allocations did you assign last year?
- How many proposed hires would need an Unrestricted CoS? – Check past trends
- How many existing employees have their visas expiring this year and would need a CoS assignment?
Once this evaluation is done, prepare a justification to include with your renewal request. It is not surprising for the UKVI to refuse the requested allocations and whilst disappointing, it is important not to panic as you can always make an in-year request for an allocation increase, when required.
18th January 2019