In a continuing recent theme of embracing technological advancements, the Home Office has confirmed that from 24 March 2023, some requests submitted on the Sponsor Management System (SMS) will be automated to provide immediate responses. This will be a welcomed additional layer of trust to a system which is seen as a ‘Privilege’ not a right. The move away from the previous manual approval system will allow license holders to keep their license details as up to date as possible without having to wait up to 18 weeks or pay a priority fee for these requests to be approved.
It has been confirmed that some requests submitted from 24 Mach from the SMS will be approved immediately, this will apply to requests to update key details for the following personnel as well as details for the organisation.
- Replacing your Authorising officer (AO) (Submission sheet and any required supporting evidence still needs
to be submitted)
- Replacing your Key Contact (KC)
- Adding new Level 1 Users
The automated approval of requests will be visible on the License Summary and request status within the ‘Recent and outstanding change request’ showing as accepted.
Level 1 users will immediately become Active users and will receive their temporary password immediately. It is to be noted that retrospective checks will still be conducted on these requests and where there are concerns the Level 1 User account will be deactivated whilst a new Level 1 user is nominated.
The automated approval will be subject to the below criteria being met.
- The license is fully active.
- You are an A rated sponsor.
- The postcode of the address stated for the new AO, KC or Level 1 User matches;
either the postcode of the main organisation address or
that of the head office address or,
for KCs and Level 1 Users, the postcode of a legal representative organisation that the Home Office have been informed is acting on the license holder’s behalf.
The information will be cross-referenced with details that are visible on the License Summary screen in the SMS. The automated checks will not assist companies where they have branches, sites and partnerships recorded on their license as this information is not currently recorded in a configuration to allow the automated functionality. Therefore, requests that do not meet the above requirements will need to be submitted and considered as they were
prior to 24 March 2023.
Automatic Renewals for Annual Allocation of Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)
Annual allocations of CoS will be renewed automatically if the annual allocation is due to expire after 23 June 2023. If the current annual allocation expires between 23 March – 23 June 2022 or has expired, then the license holder is expected to apply to renew the annual allocation, their subsequent allocations will be automated. The automated allocation is set to grant the number of CoS a license holder assigned from their previous allocation therefore if you were granted 15 annual allocations however only used 10 then the automated grant will be 10. The annual allocation grant can be increased by submitting a ‘Request CoS allocation increase’ request.
The requirements for this automated annual allocation renewals are that the license holder must.
- Be an A Rated sponsor.
- Current annual allocation status must be ‘active’.
- Sponsor licensed in one of the following eligible routes;
Skilled Worker (undefined only)
GBM- Senior or Specialist Worker
GBM- Graduate Trainee
GBM- Service Supplier
GBM- Secondment Worker
Minister of Religion
Government Authorised Exchange
For completeness the non-eligible routes are; GBM- UK Expansion; GBM- Service Supplier; GBM- Secondment Worker; Seasonal Worker; Student; Child Student.
No doubt these automations will be welcomed by licensed holders and Immigration lawyers, and it is certainly a move in the right direction as these changes will compensate valuable time. However, the SMS has been a source of frustration and whilst these changes are welcome as part of the Sponsorship Roadmap, the overhauled new system due by Quarter 1 of 2024 is eagerly anticipated.
If you would like to discuss how this will affect your business please get in touch with Chris Harber, Head of Immigration at Boyes Turner at [email protected]
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.