Glossary of Immigration Terms

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Apply for a COS – this is the process of applying to UKVI for the appropriate type of Certificate of Sponsorship in order to sponsor a migrant worker.

Assign a COS – Once the Certificate of Sponsorship has been applied for and granted, it must then be assigned to the specific migrant worker in question to link the sponsor to the worker.

Authorising Officer ('AO') – Any licenced sponsor must appoint an Authorising Officer, who should be the most senior person in the organisation responsible for the recruitment of all migrant workers and ensuring that all sponsor duties are met.

Biometric Residence Permit ('BRP') – A Biometric Residence Permit is a card issued to those who have UK visa for 6 months or more. It confirms the identity, biometric information and visa permission of the individual in question.

Certificate of Sponsorship ('COS') – a CoS is an electronic document with a unique reference number issued by a sponsor to a migrant worker via the Sponsorship Management System. A CoS confirms the details of the job for which the individual will be sponsored. A worker must have a valid CoS before they can make their visa application.

Defined - This is the type of CoS generally used for Skilled Workers applying for entry clearance (a visa) from outside the UK. Full details on the different  types of CoS can be found here.

EU Settlement Scheme ('EUSS') – The EU Settlement Scheme is a route for EEA or Swiss nationals (and their eligible family members) who are resident in the UK by the 31st December 2020,  to continue to live and work in the UK beyond the end of the Brexit transition period.

Immigration Health Surcharge ('IHS') – This is a health surcharge payable by most visa applicants to allow them access to the National Health Service while they are in the UK. Further details can be found here.

Immigration Skills Charge ('ISC) – This is a charge payable by most employers when they assign a certificate of sponsorship to a migrant worker. It is an employer cost and must not be passed on to the employee. Further details can be found here.

Intra-Company Transfer ('ICT') – An ICT visa allows employees of overseas businesses to come and work in the UK for a UK based group company of their employer. The UK company must have an ICT sponsor licence to do sponsor the worker. This route is also known as the 'Intra-Company Route'.

Level 1 User – Any licensed sponsor must appoint a Level 1 User. The level 1 user is responsible for carrying out your day-to-day sponsorship activities using the SMS.

Points-Based System ('PBS') – This is the UK immigration system which allows non-British and non-Irish citizens to move to the UK to work and study. Under a points-based immigration system, anyone coming to the UK for work must meet a specific set of requirements for which they will score points. Visas are then awarded to those who gain enough points.

Pre-Settled Status – This is a status granted under the EUSS. It is usually granted to those EEA/Swiss citizens (and eligible family members) who do not have 5 years' continuous residence but were living in the UK by the 31st of December 2020. Those who have pre-settled status can stay in the UK for a further 5 years from the date they get pre-settled status so that they have the opportunity to acquire 'Settled Status'. Full details can be found here.

Settled Status – This is a status granted under the EUSS. It is usually granted to those EEA/Swiss nationals (and their eligible family members) who started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 and have lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period (known as ‘continuous residence’). It is an indefinite right to live in the UK and can only be lost if the individual spends 5 continuous years outside of the UK (or 4 years for Swiss nationals). Full details can be found here.

Sponsor Management System ('SMS') – All licensed sponsors are given access to the sponsorship management system (SMS). It is an online function which allows sponsors to carry out day-to-day activities (including sponsoring migrant workers) and report any changes to UKVI.

UK Visas & Immigration ('UKVI') – UKVI is part of the UK Home Office and is responsible for issuing visas to enter or remain in the UK.

Undefined CoS This type of CoS is generally used for those Skilled Workers who are already inside the UK (or for those applying under the Intra-company Route). Full details on the different  types of CoS can be found here.