Thanks in advance for reading. I'm hoping that someone can shed some light on the Tier 2 UK visa process which seems to have become overly convoluted at the hands of my employer. I prepared my own application for a Tier 5 visa and feel very familiar with the process.

I am dealing both with my employer's HR dept and a third party immigration company (that has been commissioned by my employer), and I am emigrating from Australia to the UK.

The immigration company informed me that the RCoS application was successful on the 11th of this month and they were moving ahead with the application process. I have left the UK and returned to Australia in anticipation of attending the biometrics appointment that will be a part of my application.

My employer's HR has access to the SMS portal and have taken almost 2 weeks since the approval to move forward with assigning the RCoS. They have now informed me that my RCoS has been drafted and is "Under Review" - a process which they've said can take up to 10 working days.

I have combed through every piece of government documentation and cannot see anything that states that the RCoS assignment process takes any more than a few minutes and mouse clicks via the SMS portal. The only things that mention "10 working days" and "Under Review" are before the approval process or when an employer is being investigated.

Has anyone had any experience with the SMS portal and can tell me that this is a normal part of the process? The immigration company so far has gotten so many crucial details wrong thus far (eg. saying I have no dependents after I've already completed the dependents section) and I have zero faith in them, similarly the HR dept's process has not been at all transparent and does not inspire confidence.

Thanks, any information will be appreciated.


When a Tier 2 sponsor assigns a restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), they are required to complete a form on the sponsorship management system (SMS).

Pages 16-22 of SMS Guide 8A for Tier 2 (and 5) sponsors detail what has to be put in the system. I am not going to quote all six pages on here for brevity, though I can summarise that there are 28 fields to be completed, yielding a CoS Details document as shown in this template hosted by Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists.

It is likely that the 'review' under the OP's question is the process which

  1. The immigration company reviewing that the OP's upcoming employer's HR (or the immigration company itself) has input the correct details on SMS (the 'draft'), before they actually assign the CoS;

instead of:

2. The Government reviewing the CoS details are correct before approving the CoS assignment.

The turnaround time for this process will depend on the service level agreement between the immigration company and your company. In my experience (once while applying for Tier 2) it took two weeks between my restricted CoS is allocated and being actually assigned to me, but the OP's mileage may vary, and judging on the question it does look like so.

  • Unfortunately I have questioned the 10 days and have been informed by my HR contact that the time estimate is one given to them by the Home Office. What you're saying makes a lot more sense though and at this point I wouldn't be surprised if they don't actually understand the process themselves. Thanks for your points.
    – Mel K.
    Mar 22 '19 at 21:39

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