From a legal standpoint, CoSs refer to permission given by the UK government to a company or organization to sponsor workers who need visas. In simpler terms, they allow businesses in the UK (or any English-speaking nation) to hire foreign workers.
This system has been in place since 2012; since then, over 1 million tier 2 visas have been issued. Over 200 thousand tier 2 visas were issued last year alone—an all-time record that shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. As long as there are jobs that require specialist skills and knowledge not readily available within the country’s borders—and this will be true for many years coming—there will be demand for foreign labor in Britain and other English-speaking nations. This means that companies will continue to apply for tier 2 visas on behalf of potential employees from abroad; with each new applicant comes another opportunity for visa sponsorships under tier 2.
If you want to hire someone from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you’ll need to sponsor them using a UK visa sponsorship scheme.
If you’re interested in sponsoring an employee who doesn’t live in the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland, or a country that has a visa waiver scheme with the UK, your options are limited. This is because immigrant workers from countries outside these regions must apply for one of only five different visa sponsorship schemes. Each scheme comes with its own set of eligibility requirements that must be satisfied before an applicant can be issued a visa to enter the UK and accept your job offer. The most common of these visa sponsorship schemes is Tier 2, which covers jobs that fall into shortage occupations or professions where there’s also a high demand for candidates (such as healthcare workers).
To sponsor someone under this program, you must first obtain a licence from the Home Office (or Border and Immigration Agency). To do so, your organization must meet certain requirements. You’ll need to prove that you’re appropriately licensed to operate in the UK and have been doing business for at least two years. Your business will also need to maintain adequate records on each applicant ahead of their arrival—including any documents that demonstrate their eligibility for one of the five UK visa sponsorship schemes—and notify them if they fail certain criteria. If all goes well, you’ll then submit an application on behalf of your potential employee; if successful, they’ll receive permission to work in the UK until either their initial employment period runs out or it’s renewed based on continued satisfactory performance/the regular re-assessment metrics used by other parts of British immigration law.
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