Skilled Worker requesting CoS and prepare visa application

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In order to sponsor an individual under a Skilled Worker visa, the Staff Immigration Team (SIT) must issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). This is an electronic document which lists the sponsored individual's personal details and information about the role. The CoS also includes a reference number which must be included in the visa application. 

The employing department, faculty or college should download and complete the CoS form which corresponds to the appointed candidate's current circumstances. The CoS form and supporting documents should be secured with 7-Zip and emailed to their contact person within SIT. The SIT Immigration Adviser will review the application, and check the eligibility requirements have been met. 




Prospective employee applying from overseas or within the UK





A current University of Oxford employee
extending their Skilled Worker visa






Individuals undertaking an element of research at PhD in certain sensitive subjects must obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).


The following nationalities are exempt from the ATAS requirement:

  • UK, EU/EEA and Swiss nationals
  • Nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, or the United States of America.

Dual nationals who hold one of the listed nationalities above will also be exempt. This is not based on country of residence, but nationality only.


The ATAS requirement applies to both initial and extension Skilled Worker applications.


The Staff Immigration Team (SIT) will work with Department, Faculty and College colleagues to identify if the individual will need to obtain an ATAS certificate. If this is required the template letter and guidance must be followed. 

In most cases, where ATAS is applicable the Staff Immigration Team will only be able to issue the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) once the individual has applied for and been issued the ATAS certificate. This means applications must be submitted in good time.

The ATAS certificate reference number will be listed on the CoS and the individual must include a copy of the ATAS certificate in the visa application.

Full details can be found on the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) page.

Department, faculty and colleges should satisfy themselves that the English language requirement is met before requesting a Skilled Worker CoS. This can be met by meeting one of the options below. Proof of meeting the English language requirement must be included in the visa application.

Any delay in verifying the English language requirement (such as the applicant needing to sit an English language test or have qualifications verified by UK ENIC) will delay the visa application.

1. Nationals from the following English speaking countries automatically meet the English language requirement: 

Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia,  St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the USA


2. English language test

For those who intend to meet the English language requirement by passing an approved English language test, please see the Home Office's guidance on the 'Knowledge of English' requirements and their list of  Approved English Language Test providers and centres. This provides guidance on acceptable programmes and the grade applicants must reach in order to meet the Skilled Worker requirements.

Either ‘Academic’ or ‘General’ level English tests are acceptable but they must be approved tests for UKVI applications taken at an approved test centre.


There have been cases where applicants have sat the wrong English language test, or have taken the test at the wrong test centre. Having to book, pay for, and sit another test has led to significant delays to start dates. In order to avoid such delays please ensure applicants consult the Home Office list of Approved English Language Test providers and centres before booking a test.


3. Applicant was awarded a degree from a higher education institution where the course was entirely taught in English


  • A Bachelor, Masters or PhD awarded by a UK institution. The qualification does not need to be verified by UK ENIC (which was called UK NARIC until March 2021). Applicant should include their degree certificate to demonstrate they have met the English language requirement


  • A GCSE/A Level or Scottish Highers in English, studied at school in the UK


  • If the qualification is a Bachelor, Masters or PhD degree (or equivalent) awarded by an institution in Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago or USA, it will be accepted that it was taught in English but the applicant will need to have the equivalent level of the qualification verified by UK ENIC (which was called UK NARIC until March 2021), further information is provided below. The degree certificate and the UK ENIC 'English proficiency' certificate (confirming their degree is equivalent to a UK degree) must be included in the visa application.

  • If the qualification was awarded by a country not listed above but was taught entirely in English, the applicant will need a UK ENIC 'English proficiency' certificate which confirms both the level of English at which the degree was taught; and the equivalent level of the qualification. Again the degree certificate and the UK ENIC 'English proficiency' certificate must be included in the visa application.

Applying for a UK ENIC 'English proficiency' certificate

Those who are required to have their qualification verified by UK ENIC (which was called UK NARIC until March 2021) can apply for verification online. A fee of £140+VAT is payable per application for verification of 'English proficiency'. UK ENIC charge a single fee of £140 + VAT whether applicants are submitting one or multiple qualifications for verification and will return decisions by post within ten days.

UK ENIC can also provide a 'PhD verification' certificate (or combined 'English proficiency' and 'PhD verification' certificate) but this is only required if the applicant is relying on 'tradeable points' based on their holding a PhD, or a PhD in a STEM subject, relevant to the role. This will not normally be required for applications within the collegiate University but if there are any queries on this contact SIT.

Applicants who are required to obtain an 'English proficiency' certificate from UK ENIC are advised to do so as early as possible or consider taking an approved English language test instead which in some cases may be quicker and/or more cost effective.

When applying for verification to UK ENIC, applicants should be aware that they will be required to upload scanned copies of both their original degree certificate and their academic transcript. Those who are also required to have the fact that their qualification was taught in English verified, must also submit a letter form the institution that awarded their qualification confirming that the qualification was taught entirely in English. If any of the original documents are not in English, a certified translation will also need to be provided to UK ENIC.

Applicants should be aware that an application to UK ENIC does not guarantee that they will certify the level of the qualification or that it was taught in English. Where verification is not successful, the applicant will need to take and pass an approved English language test instead.

The default position is the employing department, faculty or college certifies this requirement for the first month of employment.

Otherwise the applicant has to evidence personal savings held for a 28 day period of

  • £1,270 for the main applicant
  • £285 for a dependant partner
  • £315 for the first dependant child
  • £200 for any other dependant child

Permission to Stay applications

Applicants who have been in the UK for 12 months or longer and are applying to extend or switch their visa do not need to meet the maintenance requirement.

Further guidance

The Home Office provides further guidance on the maintenance requirement.


A Student (Tier 4) visa holder is eligible to apply for a Skilled Worker visa when they have either:

  • Completed over 24 months of a PhD course in the UK; OR
  • Completed a undergraduate or graduate degree at a UK academic institution 


In addition, the student (Tier 4) visa must also have met the required qualifications specified in the job description before a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) can be issued.

Where a job description specifies that a PhD is required (and gives no provision for those who are close to completion or have relevant experience), a CoS cannot be issued unless the individual actually has been awarded a doctorate. Unless there are specific reasons why it is not possible, therefore, it is better to quote “PhD or close to completion” or “PhD or relevant experience”.

Please see the SIT Guidance for recommend qualification wording.


As part of the CoS application, one of the documents below must be provided:  

1. Original certificate of award which clearly shows:

  • Student's full name;
  • Title of the qualification/award;
  • Name of the awarding body


2. Original academic reference, on headed paper, from their academic institution which contains the following information:

  • Student's full name;
  • Course title/award;
  • Course duration;
  • Date of completion of the course (unless the applicant is a DPhil/PhD student, in which case the letter must confirm that the applicant has been studying for more than one academic year);
  • Name of the awarding body;
  • The reason why an original certificate of award cannot be provided (where studies have been completed);
  • That the certificate will be issued (where studies have been completed).

Student (Tier 4) visa  holders funded during their studies

If a student has in last 12 months before the date of their visa application received an award from a Government or international scholarship agency to cover both their tuition fees and living costs for study in the UK, they must provide written consent from the funder for them to remain in the UK.

Student (Tier 4) visa holders working before obtaining a Skilled Worker visa 

A Student (Tier 4) visa holder awaiting the outcome of an application to switch into Skilled Worker visa which was submitted before their Student (Tier 4) visa expired can fill a full-time permanent vacancy as long as they have successfully completed a course at degree level or above and they are employed in the role for which they are applying under Skilled Worker otherwise a temporary contract of employment should be issued to the individual until their work visa has been granted.



A visa applicant will need to include a Tuberculosis screening test results with their visa application if 

  • they are coming to the UK for more than 6 months and 
  • they have been resident in a listed country or countries for six months or more

Please refer to our TB screening test webpages for more information.


A requirement to provide overseas criminal record certificates when applying for a Skilled Worker visa to come to the UK for a few jobs codes in the education, health and social care sectors. Of the job codes affected the only one which is relevant within the collegiate University is SOC code 2317, which is used (very infrequently) for senior administrative posts such as ‘Course Director’ or ‘Director of studies’. 

The requirement does not apply to the Researcher (SOC code 2119) and Lecturer (SOC code 2311) roles sponsored most frequently by the University, or any other job types SIT normally encounter, only senior administrative roles which fall under SOC code 2317, and Language Lektor/ Lektorin/ Lecteur/ Lectrice roles which fall under SOC code 2319.

Where the requirement does apply the applicant will have to provide either an original or a scanned copy of a criminal record certificate from the relevant authority in any country in which they have been resident for 12 months or more (whether continuously or in total) in the past 10 years, while aged 18 or over. Any dependants who are over 18 years old must also meet this requirement. The Home Office provides contact details for the relevant authorities in different countries along with details of how to apply.


Once the Staff Immigration Team are satisfied all the Home Office requirements have been met, a Skilled Worker Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is issued in line with the contract of employment. The Skilled Worker CoS can be issued for either up to 3 years or up to 5 years in the first instance. 

Those applying for a Skilled Worker visa, and their dependants, will have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (NHS Surcharge) in addition to the relevant visa application fees when submitting their visa applications. As the NHS Surcharge is based on the duration of the visa and can be a significant addition to the visa fees this may affect the decision of the length of visa applied for. You may wish to draw the applicant's attention to this issue.


Contact us

Medical Sciences / Humanities / GLAM / UAS / Continuing Education

Angelina Pelova, Email: 

Paul Deeble, Email:


MPLS / Social Sciences / Colleges

Lyn Davis, Email:

Richard Birt, Email:




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