What is the change? The monthly cap for Tier 2 Restrictive Certificates of Sponsorship for July 2015 has been exceeded and only applicants with 45 points were successful in being granted an RCoS in this round.

What does the change mean? A backlog may develop in the coming months, creating longer wait times for Tier 2 candidates earning lower salaries.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Tier 2 Restricted CoS work visas.
  • Who is affected: Non-EEA nationals, other than those on intracompany transfer visas, working in the U.K., e.g. new hires earning less than £155,300 per year.
  • Impact on processing times: The fact that approval of the RCoS allocation process may take more than one month could potentially add four to eight weeks or even more to the overall process.
  • Business impact: Employers should be aware of the potential for a backlog to quickly accumulate over the summer months with additional pressures of graduate joiners.
  • Next steps: Employers should take careful advice from BAL on likely timings for each Tier 2 RCoS case, particularly for lower-paid employees who are likely to miss out on the allocation.

Background: The Tier 2 (General) visa is subject to an annual quota, which is broken down into monthly allocations. Historically, there have always been sufficient CoS’s available from the allocation to meet demand. However, since April the cap has been exceeded each month, meaning certain applications roll over to the next month. The allocation was exceeded again in July, despite certificates having been rolled over from the previous month and more than 2,000 certificates made available this month.

In July’s allocation, only applications scoring more than 45 points were successful. In June, which was also oversubscribed, 50 points were required for successful applications. Under the points-based system, applicants must meet the minimum of 32 points. When the allocation is reached, all applications are ranked by number of points, and applicants will gain points for having higher salaries, shortage skills or Ph.D. level roles.

BAL Analysis: Employers should work closely with their BAL attorney to understand the likely waiting time for each individual application, or for a broader class of applicants. Employers should anticipate longer onboarding times for Tier 2 migrants with lower salaries.

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

Copyright © 2016 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact