Priority Change of Circumstances for Tier 2 & 5 Sponsors
Effective as of 7 November 2016, the Home Office introduced a priority change of circumstances service which allows Tier 2 and 5 A-rated sponsors to apply for faster consideration of 4 types of change of circumstances requests.
These requests are as follows:
- in year certificate of sponsorship (CoS) allocation
- follow on CoS allocation
- add new Level 1 user
- replace an authorising officer (AO)
Who is eligible to use this service?
If you are an A-rated Tier 2 or 5 Sponsor you can utilize this service, only change of circumstances submitted on or after 7 November 2016 will be considered under the priority service, anything submitted before this date will be considered under the standard 18-week processing times.
What is not considered under the priority service
Requests for Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (RCoS) will not be eligible under this service, please bear this in mind.
Is there a fee to use this service?
Yes, sponsors will need to pay £200 to utilise this service.
How can you apply to use this service?
The request system for the priority change of circumstances service works in a similar way to the Priority Postal Service. Sponsors will need to submit the change of circumstance via their Sponsor Management System (SMS) as usual.
Thereafter, you will receive a telephone number to contact, to check the service availability and pay the fee via debit/credit card. During the call you will be asked for your sponsorship licence number, please have this ready. Only one request will be accepted on each call.
A maximum of 20 priority service requests will be accepted each day from Monday to Friday between 9am to 4pm.
If the service is fully subscribed, you will be eligible to apply the next working day.
If your request is to replace an Authorising Officer (AO), you will be required to send a submission sheet to the usual address and provide the Authorisation Code you are given when you pay the fee.
What are the processing times if I use this service?
Should your request be successful, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will consider the request in 5 working days, this is a huge reduction from the usual 18-week processing times. Where a submission sheet is required to be submitted, the request will be processed within 5 working days of receipt of this, i.e. the date UKVI receive it. It advisable to submit using a traceable service to ensure that you can monitor the delivery and provide evidence to them if required.
However, UKVI states that the 5-working day processing time cannot be guaranteed if the request is complex, but if the request is delayed for other reasons, i.e. technical issues at their end, sponsors maybe eligible for a refund.
Once a decision has been made on the change of circumstance, the Authorising Officer or Legal Representative will be notified by email of the outcome.