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Once you have secured a formal offer of employment from the University the HR Recruitment Team will contact you to provide you with the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).
A CoS is not a paper document, but a number allocated to the University by the UK Home Office where certain criteria are met. In turn, the HR Recruitment Team will allocate the CoS number to you, and you will need the number before you apply for a visa to come to, or stay in the UK.
The fact that a CoS has been assigned does not guarantee that you will succeed in getting permission to enter or stay.
You must meet certain requirements for the relevant tier and category, and apply for permission to enter or stay.
A CoS for a Tier 2 visa is valid for three months from the date of issue. After three months the certificate will lapse and you can no longer use this to support your visa application.
Information on what you can and can’t do as a Tier 2 worker is available on the UKVI website.
You will need to apply after we have given you a CoS number. We would strongly advise you to read the full UKVI policy guidance carefully and check the application requirements in your country of residence before applying. Applications are submitted online in all countries except North Korea. As explained in the UKVI application guidance, you need to prove your knowledge of the English language (e.g. IELTS for UKVI test pass) and, if your job requires working with vulnerable people, you may need to obtain criminal record certificates for yourself and your dependents from any country you’ve stayed in for a total of 12 months or more over the last 10 years before you apply.
You must not apply for a visa any sooner than three months before the start date given on your Certificate of Sponsorship. In addition, you will not be permitted to enter the UK any sooner than 14 days before the start date on your Certificate of Sponsorship. The length of time taken to process visa applications can vary considerably from country to country. You should get a decision on your visa application within 3 weeks.
You can come to the UK with a Tier 2 (General) visa for a maximum of 5 years and 14 days, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 1 month, whichever is shorter. You can apply to extend this visa for up to another 5 years, as long as your total stay is not more than 6 years.
If you submit your visa application late, or fail to supply the correct documentation, your application will be refused and the Certificate of Sponsorship will be rendered invalid. The University will need to review the circumstances and decide whether to request another Certificate of Sponsorship from the UKVI’s next available monthly limit. Should the UKVI approve the request, the HR Recruitment Team will issue a new Certificate of Sponsorship to you, and you will then need to submit a fresh visa application. Further details on visa refusals and the right to appeal can be found on the UKVI website.
If you are currently out of the UK and you were previously sponsored within the UK that ended on or after 6th April 2012, you will be subject to the 12 month ‘cooling off’ period i.e. you must wait for a period of 12 months from the date you left the UK. The cooling off period does not apply if you were only in the UK as a Tier 2 worker during the last 12 months for a short period(s) with a CoS which was assigned for 3 months or fewer.
When your visa expiry date is approaching you will receive an automated email from HR one month prior to expiry of your visa. If you are continuing employment with the University then you will need to be issued with a new CoS. HR will issue the new CoS to you and allow you sufficient time to apply for your visa extension. Please note that a CoS extension cannot be processed more than 3 months before your visa is due to expire. If you have any queries about your Tier 2 visa please contact the HR employee services team.
The University will support you in the this process but it is your responsibility to ensure you know the conditions of your visa, what is expected from you to comply with those conditions and to ensure any visa renewal is initiated in a timely manner. Further information can be found here.