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Timelines related to the Skilled Worker sponsoring process

Timelines related to the Skilled Worker sponsoring process

While many sponsors may be aware of the fees for sponsoring skilled workers, there are an equal number of sponsors who are unsure about the timelines associated with each step of the sponsoring process.

If you’re one of the latter, here’s a detailed guide on the timelines that make up the entire Skilled Worker visa application process.

Obtaining a sponsor licence and issuing a CoS to your candidate

The first step in sponsoring skilled workers is becoming a licensed sponsor. You must submit your online application and supporting documents to the Home Office. Most applications are processed within 8 weeks, during which time UKVI officials may visit your business for an audit.

You can expedite your application to get a response within 10 working days if you pay an extra £500 in addition to the licence fee.

The CoS is a mandatory electronic document you should issue to your selected candidates to help with their visa application. This is done through the Sponsorship Management System (SMS).

There are two types of CoS; Defined (issued for candidates who are applying from outside the UK) and Undefined (issued for applicants applying from inside the UK).

Typically, you will have an allocation of Undefined CoS per year. In that case, the CoS request and approval process will take up to 2 days.

But, if you’ve exhausted your allocation and want to increase your undefined CoS allocation, it may take up to 12 weeks. This timeline can be expedited to 5 days if you pay an extra £200.

The Defined CoS, on the other hand, must be requested specifically and is usually granted within one working day.

Getting support documents for the visa application

When your candidate applies for the Skilled Worker visa, they must submit a list of primary documents to support their application.

Here are a few examples:

  • Certificate of Sponsorship (PDF format)
  • Proof of their knowledge of English (only in applicable circumstances)
  • A passport or another document that’s valid for at least 6 months and shows their identity and nationality

In addition to these core documents, they may also need to submit:

  • Tuberculosis test results
  • A criminal record certificate
  • A valid ATAS certificate
  • A UK PhD certificate or their unique Ecctis reference number (this will depend on the type of work they’re sponsored for)

Here’s how long it generally takes to obtain these documents.

Document Condition Timeline
Passport Only applicable if their current passport is expired.

(The passport should be renewed before they are issued a CoS)
Up to 4 weeks
Tuberculosis test results Only required if they’re from a listed country. Up to 1 week
PhD confirmation from Ecctis Required if the candidate’s PhD was awarded outside the UK. Up to 4 weeks
Criminal record certificate A criminal record certificate is required for every country the candidate has lived in for 12 months in the previous 10 years—either in total or consecutively.

(Only for certain jobs and countries the candidate has lived in after turning 18)
Typically takes up to 4 weeks, but the duration may vary depending on the country.
ATAS certificate Only required if the candidate is conducting research in the UK.

(The application should be made online)
Up to 3 weeks

It should be noted that the Tuberculosis test results can only be obtained from a clinic approved by the Home Office.

Proof of English language proficiency

There are several options available for your candidates to prove their English language proficiency; there are two popular options among many candidates—pass an approved English test or obtain an Academic Qualification Level Statement (AQUALS) and/or the English Language Proficiency Statement (ELPS) from Ecctis.

The AQUALS and ELPS statements can only be obtained if your candidate has already completed a degree taught in English outside the UK and may take anywhere between 10 to 30 days to obtain.

The English test, on the other hand, can be booked from the home country of your candidate. This timeline may depend on the availability of slots and the country in which the exam is taken.

That said, it typically takes up to 3 weeks to get the results.

Getting a response from the Home Office for a visa application

The response time may vary depending on where your candidate is applying from—inside or outside the UK.

It typically takes up to 8 weeks if your candidate is applying from within the UK and up to 3 weeks if your candidate is applying from outside the UK.

This can be expedited to 5 working days if your candidate pays for the Priority Service.

Work with Nation.better to make sponsorship streamlined

At Nation.better, we are committed to making the sponsorship process intuitive for you and your employees. Through our complementary candidate assessment, we help speed up the sponsoring process.

Get in touch with us today to receive professional legal support from our team.

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