Those UK employers who hold a Sponsor Licence may offer Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) to those non EEA workers they wish to employ. Sponsored workers are classed under Tier 2 of the Points Based System.

The main criteria are that:

  • The applicant meets the required points score in this category;
  • The applicant is filling a genuine vacancy that requires a worker with skills at the minimum level;
  • The applicant is to be paid at a rate appropriate to the qualifying vacancy;
  • Should the applicant be applying under Tier 2 (General); they need to meet a minimum level of English language;
  • The applicant needs to hold adequate funds (Maintenance) to support themselves and their family in the UK. Their UK employer may certify the maintenance.

There are two main categories under the sponsored worker route:

Tier 2 Intra Company Transfers (ICT’s)

The Intra Company Transfers route is suited to employees of multinational companies who are being transferred by their employer overseas to a skilled post in the UK-based entity of the company.

Migrants coming to the UK on Intra Company Transfers must have been working overseas for the sponsoring company for at least the previous 12 months unless they are entering as a Graduate Trainee or under Skills Transfer. Please contact us for further information on Graduate Trainees and Skills Transfer. While in the UK the migrant worker must earn a salary or remunerative package (including specific permitted allowances) appropriate for that job in the UK.

Please note that ICT’s are limited to the amount of time they may spend in the UK depending on whether they are ‘Short Term’ (12 months) or ‘Long Term’ (5 years).  Please note however that ICT’s who entered into this category prior to 6th April 2011 can extend indefinitely depending on their employer’s requirement. Those employees who entered into the ICT route prior to 6th April 2010 can also qualify for indefinite leave to remain (settlement) after 5 continuous years in this category.

To qualify for Long Term status new migrants entering the UK under this category from 6th April 2015 must be earning a guaranteed minimum salary package of £41,500 . Migrants who entered the UK prior to this date could qualify under different earnings criteria.

Tier 2 (General)

Those who do not qualify as ICT’s above, or who wish to have the chance to settle in the UK indefinitely could use the Tier 2 (General) route.

Tier 2 (General) is split into two groups: ‘Non Restricted’ and ‘Restricted’.

The Non Restricted route concerns those migrants currently within the UK who can switch their immigration status or those who are being sponsored for a very highly paid role or Shortage Skill occupation.

The Restricted route concerns those employees who are applying from outside the UK. The Restricted route consists of a quota system where a set number of CoS’s are available each month.

Under Tier 2 (General) is may be necessary to undertake a Market Test prior to issuing a CoS to your qualified worker. This provides settled workers to apply for the vacancy. The Market Test consists of advertising the vacancy to the local labour market for at least 28 days. Often, two media are needed to advertise the vacancy and the wording and placement of the advertisement is very specific.





Strategy makes up an important aspect of issuing CoS’s to migrant workers. There are many instances where sponsored workers are not allowed to switch employer or return to the UK until they have spent a minimum qualifying period (normally 12 months) outside the UK. This is called a Cooling Off period.

Please contact us to discuss further.