What is the change? Immigration Rules published Sept. 17 adopt the Home Office’s proposed changes to add smaller salary bands within the points table and to allow unused Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) to be reclaimed after three months and put back into the pot. The changes allow more effective operation of the monthly allocation cycle for Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (RCoS).

What does the change mean? These new rules apply to decisions made on or after Oct. 12 (i.e., for RCoS requests submitted by Oct. 5) and should have a positive impact on the number of Tier 2 RCoS’s allocated in October and thereafter. The changes should allow the Home Office to maximize the allocation of Tier 2 visas every month and clear the backlog created over the last four months, while leaving in place the annual limit of 20,700.

  • Implementation time frame: Oct. 12 and following.
  • Visas/permits affected: Tier 2 (General) RCoS for new or permanent hires.
  • Who is affected: Companies applying for Tier 2 (General) RCoS’s.
  • Impact on processing times: The rules should improve the number of allocations and thus reduce the number of rejected applicants who have to wait to resubmit the following month.
  • Business impact: The rules improve the chances for employers to obtain RCoS’s for employees paid in lower salary ranges.
  • Next steps: Employers should contact their BAL representative for assistance on individual cases.

Background: The rules were announced earlier this month as provisional, and have now been finalized. The changes introduce smaller salary ranges within the points-awarding table that is used to determine whether Tier 2 RCoS’s are granted or rejected. Points are awarded for the type of job and additional points are granted for shortage occupations, Ph.D.-level roles (as a priority) and thereafter for the salary offered (the higher the salary, the greater the likelihood of receiving an RCoS). Under current rules (set for change on Oct. 12), when the monthly cap is exceeded by more than 100 applications, large numbers of applications may be refused even if there is room within the monthly limit because U.K. Visas and Immigration must refuse applications scoring the same number of points at the relevant level in order to treat all applications equally. The greater number of salary bands will allow greater flexibility.

The rules will also allow the secretary of state to reclaim unused RCoS’s before they expire (after three months) and return them to the limit, so that all RCoS’s that are allocated are actually used.

The new salary table may be viewed here.

BAL Analysis: Tier 2 employees in the lower salary ranges should have better chances of obtaining a slot in October’s allocations. The Home Office noted earlier this month that if the rules are adopted, the UKVI may need to make changes to its computer systems, which could delay the opening of the panel by a few days. BAL will keep clients updated on a case-by-case basis.

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