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What Is The Difference Between Restricted And Unrestricted Co S thumbnail

What Is The Difference Between Restricted And Unrestricted CoS

There are two types of certificate of sponsorship: restricted and unrestricted.

When a company apply for a sponsorship licence, the authorising officer will be asked to estimate how many Tier 2/Tier 5 certificates the company needs. These are called unrestricted certificates because there is no limit on how many the company can get. Unrestricted certificates only applies if:

  • The job is in the shortage occupation list;
  • The worker is paid more than £155,300;
  • The worker is allowed to switch in country (with the exception of Tier 4 dependant switchers).

The company must apply for restricted certificates through SMS for the following types of workers:

  • Tier 2 (General) workers currently abroad who will be paid less than £155,300 a year;
  • Family members (dependants) of Tier 4 migrants.

There are a limited number of restricted certificates available each month. Applications are considered on the first working day after the 10th day of the month. This is called the "allocation date". If you apply after 5th day of the month then your application will be held until the next month's allocation dated. All COS, restricted or unrestricted must be assigned within six months of the date the vacancy was first advertised.

The company can sponsor a non-EU national if the Tier 2 (applies to some parts of Tier 5 as well) job they are going to do has a suitable rate of pay and skill level (NQF Level 6 and above). The description of the job and the skill level for each occupation must fall under one of the standard occupational classification codes (SOC) and the company/employer must pay the minimum respective salary levels.

The company must advertise the job if (known as the "Resident Labour Market Test"):

  • The migrant is applying for Tier 2 (General) outside the UK;
  • The migrant is applying for Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) or Tier 5 (Religious Workers) unless it is a non-essential position or involves living with a religious order (for example, as a monk or nun);
  • The migrant is applying for Tier 5 (Creative and Sporting) in the creative and entertainment sector, unless the employer can explain why the job cannot be done by a settled worker.

See also 'Processing times for restricted and unrestricted certificate of sponsorship (COS)'

When can a company not undertake an RLMT?

The company does not need to undertake the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) in the following cases:

  • The job is on the shortage occupation list;
  • The job has a gross annual salary of at least £155,300;
  • The migrant is an existing worker having already been employed by the company at for at least 6 months at the time of their application and is a holder of Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) visa;
  • The migrant is an existing worker and is a holder of Tier 2 (General) and applying to extend his/her Tier 2 (General) leave to remain provided all other requirements are satisfied;
  • The migrant is an existing employee overseas and the UK branch of that overseas company is willing to sponsor him/her to come and work for them in the UK. This type of Entry Clearance known as Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer);
  • The migrant is a Postgraduate Doctor/Dentist who needs further permission to stay under Tier 2 (General).

The advert must run in the UK for 28 days and is valid for 6 months from the start date of the advertisement. Once the RLMT is over and no suitable settled worker found, the sponsor is free to offer the job to the migrant worker and assign a COS.

The advert makes sure that there are no suitable workers already living permanently in the UK. It must be a genuine vacancy. There are certain requirements in respect of the advertisements which have to be met.

How we can help

Our immigration solicitors can advise you each step of the way on everything you need to do to ensure a successful sponsor licence and Tier 2 visa application. We also offer a full immigration audit of HR systems and internal processes to ensure that you are compliant. Contact us today on 02037442797 or send us an email on info@reissedwards.com if you need our assistance.

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ACQ5 Awards Award ACQ5 Awards Award
Lexis Nexis Lexis Nexis
Three Best Rated Three Best Rated
Department For International Development Department For International Development
University Of Cambridge University Of Cambridge
Lexology Legal Influencers Lexology Legal Influencers

O.L

Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing.

As a lawyer myself I can categorically say that he knows his stuff, gentle, responsive, cares about you and not just about the money, very professional.
I mean I can go on and on!

Andy and the entire team at Reiss Edwards are amazing!

Thanks again Andy.

Kiran Sardar


I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this professional as there are lots of emotions always involved in each and every case.

The way they dealt with my case during COVID19 Situation is highly appreciable. I would definitely recommend Joe D. and Anna F. Anna is an amazing lady, her patience is beyond my words.

Her hard work and professionalism have no boundaries. She is the right person for all type of cases.

Thanks to Anna and Joe for all your support and guidance which helped me fulfill my dream.

I would say Reiss Edwards is lucky to have Joe D. and Anna F. Great job Reiss Edwards.

thanks once again. Anna you’re a Gem and a Star.

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was outstanding. Handling the case with constant correspondence over a lengthy, lockdown delayed 7-month application process. Her expert advice guided us successfully through some difficult times as a result of COVID-19. Some of the best service I have received for any service ever! Often replying to emails late at night, offering to send additional correspondence to the home office and going above and beyond in handling our case! Well done and thank you Reiss Edwards and thank you Anna!!".

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"Reiss Edwards did a great job, and so much work, for their reasonable fixed fee. I would heartily recommend them to anyone looking to secure a Visa and /or Visa renewal. I will use them again when mine needs to renew. Great value".

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"The help, the professionalism, the kindness from this team is phenomenal. A massive thank you to Anna Foley.

I have had a really tough time with getting my husband’s visa. My last immigration lawyer made many mistakes that caused stress, disappointments and sadness.

I was weary about getting another lawyer as I thought I was going to go through the same experience but no, it turned out better than what I had hoped or even imagined.

What I received was: constant emails and calls updating me and asking if anything else is needed. If I called and they missed my phone call I would get a call back within 10 minutes. All of my documents were carefully checked and I would get a reply the next day if anything was missing or not correct. There were times that I was impatient and asked to just send the visa off, but was reminded that everything had to be perfect and correct before submitting the application. I was told about every option I had and discussed what the best would be. I was always spoke in a nice, calm, polite manner.

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"My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team".

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"This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again. I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle".

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Reiss Edwards Reviews

O.L

"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

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"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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