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Certificate of Sponsorship

What are Certificates of Sponsorships and why are they required?


The University of Dundee is an A-rated sponsor licence holder under the UK Points Based Immigration System for the Tier 2 category which covers skilled workers with a job offer.

A non EEA national* will need to pass a points-based assessment before being given permission to enter or remain in the UK and, if applying under Tier 2, will require the University to apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship before they can apply for their Tier 2 visa. 

The University will issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to an applicant with a job offer when satisfied that there has been strict adherence to the sponsorship duties detailed by the Home Office UK Visas and Immigration.

The appointee is then required to apply under the Sponsored Skilled Workers category (Tier 2 General) of the UK Points Based System to apply for 1) permission to enter the United Kingdom (known as 'Entry Clearance') or, 2) if they are already in the UK with permission to stay (known as 'Leave to Remain') in an immigration category that allows them to switch into the sponsored skilled worker category or, 3) if they are already in the UK as a sponsored skilled worker and want to extend their permission to stay within their existing category.

Further information on these requirements can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration website.  If the appointee is outside the UK the University must apply for a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship.  Restricted certificates can only be applied for once a month (applications are to be in for the 5th, and outcomes are given on the 11th of the month).

It is the appointee's responsibility to obtain this Entry Clearance or Leave to Remain as applicable.

Further advice and guidance on the issue of Certificates of Sponsorship can be sought from your School/ Directorate HR Officer.

* The European Economic Area Agreement gives nationals of other countries such as Iceland, Liechtenstein & Norway the same rights to enter, live in and work in the UK as EU citizens. If you are unsure about an appointee's status please contact your School/ Directorate HR Officer.

  What duties does the University have as sponsor under the UKVI Immigration System?

As a sponsor the University has a number of duties these include:

    (1) keeping copies of your passport, Biometric Residence Permit or UK immigration status documents, and contact details (address, telephone number, mobile telephone number).  Your contact details must also be kept up to date.
    (2) reporting duties, which include reporting to UKVI if:
    • you do not turn up for your first day of work; or
    • you are absent from work for more than 10 consecutive working days, without the University’s reasonably granted permission; or
    • your employment (including if you resign or are dismissed) or any registration you need to work in the UK(such as with a governing body) ends; or
    • the University stops sponsoring you for any other reason (for example, if you switch into an immigration route that does not require a sponsor); or
    • there are any significant changes in your employment circumstances, for example, a change of job or salary (but not job title or annual pay rise) or a change in the location where you are working; or
    • the University has information which suggests you are breaching the conditions of your leave.
    (3) providing the police with any information held, which suggests that you may be engaging in terrorism or other criminal activity.

Click here to read more about the University’s responsibilities in Certificate of Sponsorship - Responsibilities.‌

Please note that you must give the University all the information required to allow it to fulfil its duties as a sponsor under the UKVI system.

How will travel restrictions associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) affect me?

UKVI published guidance on GOV.UK on immigration provisions for individuals affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus. Further information on this can be found here:

They have advised that no individual who is in the UK legally, but whose visa is due to, or has already expired, and who cannot leave because of travel restrictions related to COVID-19, will be regarded as an overstayer, or suffer any detriment in the future. 



Where can I find a list of EEA countries?

An up-to-date list of countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) together with details of other citizens who do not need permission to work in the United Kingdom can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration website.

What are the criteria for issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship?

  1. The individual must be appointed to an advertised post demonstrating that the resident labour market test has been met for the category of post, as identified by the UK Visa's and Immigration Occupation Codes of Practice. The advert for the post must be placed no more than 6 months prior to the date of issue of the Certificate of Sponsorship.
  2. Or the individual should hold their own Fellowship. The salary for the Fellowship must be administered through the University.
  3. The appointee must have a recognised qualification at or above SVQ level 3.
  4. The job must be paid at the minimum salary rate according to the identified Occupation code.
  5. The appointee may need to prove their knowledge of the English language when they apply.  They can prove their knowledge of English by either:       
  • Passing an approved English language test with an accepted level in reading, writing, speaking and listening.
  • Having an Academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UKNARIC as being equivalent to a UK Bachelor's degree. 

There are other exceptions, such as being a National from a specific country.  These exceptions are outlined in the full guidelines

Lists of tests and test centres approved by UK Visas and Immigration to show that applicants have the required level of English for their visa (From 11 January 2016) can be found here:


How is the Certificate of Sponsorship issued?

If the appointee is a non EEA national, then please tick the appropriate box on the i-grasp offers page, or on the New Appointment Authorisation form. HR will then liaise with you, if necessary, to issue the Certificate of Sponsorship on behalf of the University.

The contract of employment will be prepared and issued clearly stipulating that the appointment is dependant upon the University being able to employ the individual without breaching UK immigration or other legislation. Under its sponsorship duties, the University is obliged to vet all new members of staff's identification and immigration status (if applicable) at the start of their employment.  Staff are asked to bring their passport to their HR Office on their first day of employment to meet this requirement.

What information is required for the Certificate of Sponsorship?

The HR Officer will contact the appointee directly with questions required of them for the Certificate of Sponsorship and will refer to the post file for all other details and as advised by the Recruiting Manager.

What happens once the Certificate of Sponsorship is issued?

On receipt of the Certificate of Sponsorship number, the HR Officer will email the appointee advising them of the action they must now take. The action required differs depending upon whether the individual is already in the UK or in another country.

Further information on these requirements can be found on the UK Visas and immigration website, if the appointee is applying from outside the United Kingdom.

It is the appointee's responsibility to obtain this Entry Clearance or Leave to Remain as applicable.  The University of Dundee does not meet the cost of applying for Entry Clearance/Leave to Remain.

What about spouses and dependants of Sponsored Skilled Workers (Tier 2 category)?

Under immigration legislation, the spouse of a Tier 2 category worker is permitted to undertake paid employment. They may only be employed while their spouse is residing and working within the UK, and holds a valid visa.

How long will the individual's application for Leave to Remain/Entry Clearance take?

Information about current timescales is updated regularly and can be found on the UK Visas and immigration website.

What happens if the Tier 2 category visa application is refused?

The UK Home Office Border Agency will write to the individual detailing the reasons why their application for further Leave to Remain or Entry Clearance has not been granted. When advised of this, the HR Officer will then liaise with the Recruiting Manager to decide the best way to proceed.

How do we request an extension to a Certificate of Sponsorship?

HR will contact departments approximately 4 months before the expiry date of the individual's work permit to establish if an extension to the Certificate of Sponsorship to enable the employee to apply to further extend their Leave to Remain will be required.

This usually coincides with the expiry of the individual's fixed term contract. An extension to a Certificate of Sponsorship will only be sought, if the individual's contract is being renewed.

For Tier 2 extensions, individuals must bear in mind that they cannot apply for a new visa more than three months before their current visa expires. 

How is a further Certificate of Sponsorship issued?

In most circumstances, to be considered for an extension, applicants must be continuing to work in the same or a similar job. 

The procedure is similar to that of the initial issue of a Certificate of Sponsorship. HR will issue the Certificate once satisfied that we have met our sponsor obligations and in doing so will contact the individual to confirm personal details and the Recruiting Manager, to confirm the reasons as to why a further Certificate of Sponsorship is required

On receipt of the Certificate of Sponsorship number, HR will email the employee advising them of the action they must now take.

What about applying for Further Leave to Remain in the UK?

Further information on this requirement can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration website.

It remains the individual's responsibility to obtain permission for Further Leave to Remain.

Will I have to pay a Health Surcharge?

The UK government introduced an immigration health surcharge on 6 April 2015.  The health surcharge will be paid by non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals who apply to come to the UK to work, study or join family for a period of more than 6 months.  It will also be paid by non-EEA nationals who are already in the UK and apply to extend their stay after 6 April 2015. 

Those who have paid the surcharge or are exempt will be able to access the National Health Service (NHS) in the same way as a permanent UK resident.  Payment may be required for some services such as dental treatment and eye tests.

Dundee University does not reimburse health surcharge costs.

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