We recently received an update from the UK Border Agency (UKBA) which stated that “a wide range of improvements” will soon be made to the UKBA IT systems, including the Sponsorship Management System (SMS).
The improvements are due to come into effect on 1 July 2013 and apparently they are aimed at “bringing greater efficiency to sponsorship processes,’ for both SMS users and the UKBA caseworking teams who process visa applications. The UKBA suggest that they “expect these changes to result in fewer rejected applications and requests and more effective, better targeted communications.”
The changes to the SMS can be summarised as follows:
For all Sponsors
- Key dates related to sponsor licences will be displayed in the ‘Licence Summary’ screen (changing from ‘Sponsor summary’); specifically, the start, expiry and renewal dates for the following:
- A company”s sponsor licence;
- Tier 2/5 Premium customer service (if applicable);
- Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) status (Tier 4 sponsors only);
- A new message screen will be presented to all Level 1 users immediately after logging in. This new feature will be used to provide users with important information, forthcoming key dates and events and answers to frequently asked questions regarding the SMS;
- Introduction of an application and licence renewal tracking function. From 1 July, this will allow users to track the status and outcomes of applications submitted for licence renewal, Premium customer service and renewal (if applicable) and HTS status and renewal (Tier 4 only);
- Revisions to the SMS menu structure and content.
For Tier 2/5 sponsors
- Addition of an online renewal function for Tier 2/5 Premium customer service;
- Display of Premium customer service licence manager and senior account manager contact details (if applicable);
- Advanced search function for Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS). This will allow SMS users for Tier 2/5 Sponsors to more easily identify CoS that they have created using a wider range of search parameters;
- Ability to delete CoS records, where the CoS have not been assigned;
- Reduced and simplified options for reporting migrant activity;
- Additional information about action plans issued to sponsors, including status updates and key dates.
The UKBA will also update the online sponsor application system, with the most significant change to the system being the addition of a simplified and quicker process for existing sponsors to add tiers or categories to their licences.
For additional information, please contact us.