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What is a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)?

Once a job offer has been made to an individual who will require a Skilled Worker Visa in order to work for the University, the first step for the department/institution is to request a CoS from the Compliance Team. Only once a CoS has been issued can the employee (new or current) apply for their Skilled Worker Visa.

The CoS is the University's undertaking that the role is genuine and meets the necessary salary and skill level requirements. The Compliance Team will only assign a CoS to an individual provided all these requirements are deemed to have been met.

A CoS will cost the department £199 except where sponsoring an individual from one of the following countries in which case there is no CoS application fee:

Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Turkey

CoS Application procedure

New appointments

Following acceptance of an offer of employment, the recruiting department/institution must complete the Skilled Worker Visa CoS application form.  

Where a CoS is required, this is managed within Step 5 of the offers and appointment process on Web Recruitment.

Within Step 5, departments/institutions can use the system to request personal details, documentation and other relevant CoS information directly from the applicant. Where this function is used, the applicant will be sent a message requesting them to log into the system, provide their details and upload any relevant documentation (such as their passport and qualifications, if required).

Once the CoS application is complete, departments/institutions will be required to either upload the CoS application form and supporting documents into the system or indicate that these will be posted out separately to the HR New Appointment Team. The CoS application and supporting documents can be uploaded even where the department/institution requests the applicant’s details outside of the system.

Please also see the CoS Quick Reference guide and CoS Guide to Requesting Applicant Details for more detailed guidance on managing CoS applications within Web Recruitment.


Where a current member of staff holding a Tier 2/Skilled Worker Visa requires an extension due to expiry of their current visa and/or an extension to their contract, they can apply inside the UK for an extension provided they are continuing in the same role for which their original CoS was assigned.

In some cases, it may be possible to accommodate an extension in a different job role, where that role is defined under the same SOC Code used in the original CoS. In all cases, please contact the HR Compliance Team to discuss such cases before taking any action.

In order to apply for an extension to a Skilled Worker visa for a current University employee, a new CoS application will need to be submitted by the department/institution.

Please note: the Compliance Team cannot process a CoS extension more than three months before an individual's Tier 2/Skilled Worker visa is due to expire.

Change of job role

Where an individual who currently holds a Tier 2 or Skilled Worker visa changes jobs from the job stated on their CoS, they may be required to apply for a new Skilled Worker Visa before they can commence that new employment. Please see the guidance below for the different scenarios you may encounter.

Current employees

  • Where a current employee sponsored via Tier 2 or Skilled Worker visa moves to a different role within the University, and the new role can be defined by the same SOC Code as their exisiting CoS, they can commence that employment without obtaining a new CoS or Skilled Worker Visa. However, any and all changes to job title, duties, work location or salary must be reported to the Compliance Team before they occur so that an assessment can be made.
  • Where a current employee sponsored via Tier 2 or Skilled Worker visa moves to a different role within the University, and the new job would be defined by a different SOC Code, the department must make a new CoS application and the individual must apply for and be issued a new Skilled Worker visa before they can commence the new role. The individual can continue working in their previous role up until the new Skilled Worker Visa is issued.

Example 1

A Research Assistant holding a Tier 2 visa is promoted to Research Associate. The SOC Code used for their current CoS is 2119 (which is the code for all research roles at an HEI), which means they can start working immediately in that new role using their existing Tier 2 visa without the need to get a new CoS/visa.

The change in job title and salary must be reported to the HR Compliance Team for onward reporting to Immigration. There is no cost involved in this process.

Example 2

A Senior Research Associate holding a Skilled Worker Visa is offered a job as a Lecturer. As their existing CoS is defined by Code 2119 (which is the code for all research roles at an HEI), and Lecturer roles are defined by SOC Code 2311, the individual cannot immediately start in their new role. This is because their new role is in a different SOC Code.

In order to be able to commence this new role, the department must submit a new CoS application, and the individual must apply for and be issued their new Skilled Worker visa before they can start in the Lecturer role. They can continue in their Senior RA role until the new visa is issued.


Prospective employees holding Tier 2/Skilled Worker visa with another employer

  • Where an individual who already holds a Tier 2 or Skilled Worker visa with a different employer is made a job offer at University of Cambridge, the individual must be issued a new Certificate of Sponsorship by the University, and apply for a new Skilled Worker Visa; and
  • The individual must have obtained the new visa/biometric residence permit and a copy must have been taken by the department/institution before employment in the new role can start. The individual can continue working in their current role for their current employer up until the new Skilled Worker Visa is issued.