Once you’ve gone ahead and secured yourself a job in a Trust that meets all your hopes and aspirations, you’re left with another stack of papers to fill out and questions that need answering. Let’s get started.

What is a CoS?

A CoS is a ‘Certificate of Sponsorship‘ sponsored by the Trust (your employer), approved by the UK Home office. This is an electronic record, not a physical document. Each certificate has its own number which a worker (you) can use to apply for a visa. There are two types:

  • Unrestricted CoS
  • Restricted CoS

Unrestricted CoS

Certificates of Sponsorship for the following applications are known as “unrestricted” and sponsors can assign these without first applying for permission.

  • Anyone seeking admission to fill a vacancy with a salary of £159,600 or above,
  • Those connected with the inward investment provisions, and
  • All in-country applications (with the exception of Tier 4 dependant switchers)

Restricted CoS

The following are referred as “restricted” Certificates of Sponsorship. There is an annual limit on the number of Certificates of Sponsorship available under Tier 2 (General) for those:

  • Foreign nationals seeking entry clearance to the UK under the Tier 2 (General) category, and
  • Who are applying to switch into the Tier 2 (General) category from within the UK as a dependant of a Tier 4 (General) student.

What information should I look for in the CoS?

It’s imperative you ensure the CoS assigned has the correct spelling of your name, along with the rest of your personal, passport, and home address being correct as well. The date assigned should also be noted because within 3 months of that date, you must apply for your TIER 2 visa.

Next look at your work dates. The duration between these two dates will determine the length of the visa you will receive. The duration of your contract does not play a role here.

Lastly, the migrant’s employment details. Please double check your job title and pay, along with whether or not your job falls under shortage occupancy and if maintenance will be provided. If by some chance there is a mistake on your CoS, your Trust may opt to have it reissued, or may make a Sponsor’s note which you can then attach to your TIER 2 visa application.


What’s the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT)?

The Resident Labour Market Test requires Tier 2 Sponsorship License holding employers to prove to UK Visas and Immigration that no ‘settled worker’ is available for the role they want to assign to a Tier 2 visa worker.

If a settled worker with the relevant skills and experience for the role applies, then the employer cannot recruit a migrant, even if they are more skilled and/or experienced. The only exception is if the role is skilled to PhD level according to the National Occupational Classification framework, then the employer may recruit a migrant if they are the best candidate.

A settled worker is one of the following:

  • A UK national
  • An EEA national
  • A citizen of a UK Overseas Territory, except citizens of Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus

RLMT is not needed in the following cases:

  • If you are extending a Tier 2 visa in a similar job role for the same employer.
  • If you are are employing someone who is switching from a Tier 4 student visa to a Tier 2 visa,
  • If the job is on the shortage occupation list.
  • If the salary is at least £159,600 per annum.

BUT RLMT HAS NOW BEEN DONE AWAY WITH! From October 6, 2019 – all medical practitioners will be in the shortage occupation list – thus RLMT exempted.

So what does it really mean?

  • You don’t have to wait for re-advert rounds to apply anymore. You can apply in round 1 and/or 2, in ALL the specialties. The playing field has now been leveled for everyone.
  • Tier 2 visa fee will be less expensive as compared to before.

Please make sure all of your information is correct, and then proceed onward to start your online application for your TIER 2 visa.

Good luck!

38 thoughts on “The Formula for CoS”

  1. Hi Good day!

    I got my COS and the work dates written
    starts: May 2021
    ends: May 2023
    My ACTUAL working start date is July 23, 2021,and will only be applying for a Health and Care visa this June 2021. Will there be a problem if I use the COS with past work date? Thank you very much!

    1. No it should not be an issue. You will get a visa till May 2023 from whenever you apply. You just have to apply within 3 months of the COS issue date.

  2. Hi…In my COS Tier and Category mentioned is exactly as: ” General (New Hires – Doctors and Nurses – ISC liable)”. I don’t see Tier 2 General mentioned anywhere. Is it correct? I’ve asked HR but no response yet. So which visa is that?

      1. Hi…I’ve very minutely looked into my COS and the exact wording is ” General (New Hires – Doctors and Nurses – ISC liable)”.

        1. There is other visa other than Tier 2 General that you can come through. So I will apply for Tier 2 General with that CoS.

      1. Amal A Genena

        I read somewhere that proof of address is required, is this true? does this mean I have to translate my electricity bill for example??

        1. Any other official document will work for that as well. Bills are not mandatory.

  3. Hello,
    If someone has offered an st3 equalent job and on cos it is mentioned as Str level in the Job title section, does it make any difference?
    Thank you

  4. Thanks a lot for all the guidance you provide.
    I wanted to enquire about the visa dates. Is it compulsory that the start date of the visa is the one mentioned on your CoS or it could be earlier or later? Kindly guide as this will help my plan for travel and booking the ID CHECK appointment? Hoping for an urgent reply.

    1. You can’t determine the start date of your visa. It has already determined with the mentioned job start and end date in your CoS, but you can travel 14 days prior or in any later date than your CoS mentioned job start date if you inform your hospital and they are okay with it.

        1. As you are traveling for a job, you will be given a vignette sticker valid for one month depending on when you say you want to travel. Say your job start date is 25th October. You can plan to be in the UK 14 days prior to that date. If you apply for the visa and say your intended arrival date is 20th of October – no problem in that. After your successful application, you will get a vignette of one month say from 10th of October to 10th of November during which time you HAVE to travel to the UK and collect your BRP which is your visa.
          Edit: Months

  5. Hi. is the resident labour market test still required by law now that tier 2 visa restrictions have been removed for doctors? can we expect more NHS trusts to easily offer Tier 2 CoS?

    1. RLMT still applies and NHS trusts still have to wait for that criteria to fill before they can sponsor someone from abroad.
      The only thing that changed is, there was a limited no of doctors (under new skilled workers) who were given the permission to apply for Tier 2, PER MONTH. There is no restriction like that anymore.

  6. Malik Asad Waqar

    Hey Doctor really informative post on Cos . So I was wondering a junior doctor’s pay in uk is 26’000 to 30’000£ . So he will never get a Cos because his points will be 30 (20 + 10 ) . So there is no chance there . Please help me on this . Thanks

    1. This month such limitations were lifted in the UK so there’s no reason to worry about the point system now.

  7. Thank you for this post

    Could you please give me a link to the source of this figures? I mean that 36000 takes 16 points and 37000 takes 17. I can not find any source on gov. uk website

  8. Good Afternoon, I would like to ask – if a COS denial would likely prevent one from meeting the GMC ID card check (within the stipulated 3 months)- can I reschedule with GMC without having to go through the entire registration process again?

    1. If you don’t do your ID check in 3 months, you will have to start a new application. It is better you try and complete your ID check on your initial visit after your PLAB 2 results are out or by going again to the UK just for the ID check.

    2. In my opinion, your job process and GMC application process should run independently.
      To answer your question, no. GMC WILL NOT re schedule or give you any extension for those 3 months period.
      If possible you can apply for visa with your ID check appointment as purpose.

  9. Wonderful post, I would like to get a clarification regarding PART B- the salary is the offer package per annum we get from the NHS, OR our existing annual income( in my case INDIA), cause in Asians countries annual income is not at all exceeding 10,000 GBP per annum.

    1. The certificate of sponsorship is getting issued for your job in the UK. Why the salary of your home country would be considered?

  10. hello Doctor,
    i have my gmc ID check this month and i will get full registeration inshallah. However i wont be able to start any job in the UK for the next 3-4 months due to personal reasons. so in such cases will it cause any trouble during the revalidation/appraisal process? Can the gmc do the id check but keep a hold on entering my name in the register and issue the liscense at a later date on request?

    1. GMC won’t put a hold on entering you into the system, but if you do not have a job (ie a designated body) within 3 months of registration, you can just explain to the GMC the reason why and nothing untoward will occur.

  11. Compliments of the day younder, please kindly enlighten me about the path of MRCS and as a foreign trained doctor, how easy is it to write such examinations here; in other words, do we have centres in West Africa region. Thanks in anticipation of your response!
    On Jan 18, 2018 10:47, “A Doctor’s Road to the UK” wrote:
    > Ibrahim Ivan posted: “Facebook forums and groups are all alight with > claims that the NHS won’t take anymore doctors. Calm down. It’s never as > black and white as that. Now let’s break it down: What is a CoS? A CoS is a > ‘Certificate of Sponsorship’ given by the Trust of where yo” >

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