Preparing for Change: Sponsor Management System Update for Skilled Worker Sponsorship

Preparing for change sponsor management system update for skilled worker sponsorship | immtell

Preparing for Change: Sponsor Management System Update for Skilled Worker Sponsorship

The UK’s approach to skilled worker sponsorship is changing, and with it comes an important system update that all sponsors need to be aware of.

Effective 4 April 2024, the Home Office will implement significant changes to the Sponsor Management System (SMS) and the process of issuing Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS).

These adjustments are primarily driven by the shift to the SOC2020 occupational codes and increased skilled worker salary thresholds.

Key Changes to Note

  • Introduction of Annex 2: Detailed in the “Workers and Temporary Workers: guidance for sponsors part 2,” the new Annex 2 outlines essential information on Defined CoS applications and the assignment of CoS by 7pm on 2 April 2024.
  • System Downtime: The sponsor licence application form and SMS will be offline from 7pm, 2 April, until 9am, 4 April 2024, to facilitate these updates.
  • Impact on Defined CoS: Efforts will be made to process as many Defined CoS applications as possible before the downtime. However, applications outstanding after 7pm on 2 April will be cancelled, requiring a new submission under the updated criteria from 9am, 4 April.
  • Assignment Deadline for Existing CoS: CoS issued under the SOC 2010 codes must be assigned before the 7pm, 2 April cut-off. Post-deadline, new applications must adhere to the SOC2020 codes and revised salary thresholds.
  • Updating Undefined CoS: For “work in progress” or “ready to go” Undefined CoS not assigned by the cut-off, sponsors must update these with the new SOC 2020 codes and verify compliance with the new salary thresholds before assignment.
  • Validity of Assigned CoS: CoS assigned to workers before the deadline will retain their usual three-month validity. Importantly, out-of-country entry clearance or in-country permission to stay applications made using these CoS will be processed based on the rules effective before 4 April 2024, even if the application occurs after the changeover.

What This Means for Sponsors

These changes signify shifting into a more stringent skilled worker sponsorship regime, aligning with new occupational standards and economic conditions.

Sponsors must act now to complete any pending CoS assignments before the system goes offline on 2 April 2024.

Additionally, staying informed about the new SOC2020 codes and adjusted salary thresholds will be crucial for a seamless transition and continued compliance.

The temporary suspension of the SMS and application forms means sponsors should plan accordingly to avoid disruptions to their operations and potential delays in their sponsorship activities.

As always, thorough preparation and proactive management will be key to navigating these updates successfully.

For sponsors, this transition period offers a moment to reassess and realign their sponsorship strategies with the evolving immigration landscape, ensuring that their contributions to the UK’s skilled workforce remain as impactful and compliant as ever.

We know that the recent delays in the Home Office’s Undefined and Defined CoS requests make this a very challenging time for sponsors. Please get in touch with us if you need any help.

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