February quotas exhausted for Tier 2 RCoS

19 Feb 18



What is the change? The allocated quota for Tier 2 restricted certificates of sponsorship (RCoS) has been exhausted for the month of February, the third consecutive month the quotas have been exhausted..

What does the change mean? Employers should anticipate that requests for Tier 2 General Certificates of Sponsorship with a salary of less than £50,000 per year have been refused and will need to be resubmitted in March.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Tier 2 (General).
  • Who is affected: Companies applying for RCoS for non-EEA skilled migrants under the Tier 2 (General) regime.
  • Impact on processing times: Requests will need to be resubmitted in March to be reassessed, assuming the resident market test remains valid.
  • Business impact: Companies sponsoring lower-paid Tier 2 workers may need to delay work start dates and should anticipate that March quotas may also be exhausted. Readvertising may be necessary as a result.
  • Next steps: Employers should plan for potential delays to business schedules as the monthly quota is likely to be filled in March due to the carryover effect. A higher monthly quota will be available in April. Meanwhile, employers should work with BAL to explore other immigration options, such as alternative visa routes. They should also consider increasing salaries for the role to improve their chances of obtaining an RCoS in the current environment, bearing in mind that additional advertising may be required.

Background: The annual quota for Tier 2 (General) visas is 20,700, allocated into monthly quotas. In 2016, the monthly distribution was changed to provide higher quotas during the high-demand months of April through September and lower quotas in other months, thereby shifting pressure on months at the end of the fiscal year (December through March). When the monthly quota is reached, applications are ranked by points obtained, with more points earned for shortage occupations, higher salaries, and certain Ph.D.-level roles.

BAL Analysis: BAL anticipate pressure on quotas through March and recommends that employers plan accordingly. The government is under pressure to reconsider roles on the shortage occupation list which are frequently sponsored, such as occupations with the National Health Service; however, in the meantime employers should consider salary as the deciding factor in the approval of an RCoS request. Companies that recruit higher earners will continue to be more likely to have their applications approved.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact uk@bal.com.

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