Blogs > NHS Recruitment Process / Visas / Useful Information

How to get a CoS for your Tier 2 Visa

  • January 29, 2019

Once a hospital has agreed to employ a non-EEA doctor, they will need to allocate a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to that doctor in order for them to make their Tier 2 Visa application.

What is a CoS?

A CoS is not a physical document, but a reference number which an international doctor can use to apply to enter or remain in the UK.

There are two types of CoS: Unrestricted and restricted.

1. Unrestricted – The CoS will be automatically allocated to the doctor

2. Restricted – The application has to go to on the 11 month and there will be a wait for approval

Unrestricted CoS

When the Tier 2 visa cap was lifted in June 2018 – it meant that all doctors and nurses would be automatically allocated a CoS regardless of their point score.

How the hospital applies for an unrestricted CoS

1. A job offer is made to the doctor and pre-employment checks are carried out

2. The hospital will apply online to the UK Home Office Visa and Immigration Office (UKVI) for an allocation, taken out of the yearly amount

3. The CoS is granted and added to the sponsorship management system

4. The CoS is then assigned by the hospital to the doctor

5. The doctor can then apply for a Tier 2 visa within three months of receiving their CoS

6. The doctor’s Tier 2 visa application is successful and entry clearance granted

Please note, there is no need to apply for an unrestricted CoS before a deadline as there is no panel – typically, you will receive the approved CoS within 48 hours.

Restricted CoS

Despite the Tier 2 visa cap in June, the hospital a certain number of unrestricted CoS’ per year – meaning, they may have to use a restricted CoS to apply for a doctor’s sponsorship licence if they do not have any unrestricted applications left.

How the hospital applies for a restricted CoS

1. The Resident Labour Market test is met, a doctor interviews a post, a job offer is made, and the pre-employment checks are completed

2. The hospital will then apply online to the UKVI Office for a certificate from the limited monthly allocation

3. Applications are assessed on the 11th of each month when a panel meeting takes place. A hospital must submit their CoS application for a doctor before the 5th each month to be considered on time

4. When the CoS is granted, the hospital will assign it to the doctor and they will have three months to use the CoS

5. The doctor applies for their Tier 2 visa

6. The doctor’s Tier 2 visa application is successful and entry clearance granted

If you apply for a restricted CoS, the turnaround time could be around a month as you will need to wait for the panel to meet and approve the application.

Our Advice

  • Where possible, we advise for NHS hospitals to apply for an unrestricted CoS for their doctor. This means that the CoS could be returned in a matter of days. Whereas, if the CoS is applied for as unrestricted, it can take a number of weeks to be returned thus delaying the doctor’s ability to apply for their Tier 2 visa and starting employment within the Trust.
  • If you are a doctor waiting for your CoS – do not worry about whether your job is on the shortage occupation list or whether your salary is high enough. The Tier 2 visa cap lift means that ALL doctors CoS’ will be approved, regardless of those issues.
  • To speed up the ability to apply for your CoS – have all of your documents in order. This includes:
    -Proof of address x 2
    -References to cover the last three years of employment x 2
    -Police Clearance Certificate
    -Certificate of Good Standing

Any questions?

Email [email protected] and we will be happy to help.

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