What is the change? The allocated quota of restricted certificates of sponsorship (RCoS) for employers hiring skilled foreign workers has been met for the month of June. This comes at a time when the British government is committed to maintaining the quota at the current level. In fact, Home Office sources have hinted that a reduction may even be implemented.

What does the change mean? When reached, the quota demands that all applications are ranked by number of points obtained, with points gained for shortage of skills in the U.K., for certain PhD level roles and for salary. Therefore, employers should expect a lower number of Tier 2 RCoS approvals, especially in the coming summer months, a peak period for recruitment of new graduates. Only high-earning foreign skilled workers are likely to be approved, as more points are awarded for higher salaries. In June, it appears that salaries under £46,000 resulted in refusal.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship for Tier 2 (General).
  • Who is affected: Companies sponsoring new hires under RCoSs.
  • Impact on processing times: Applications will be delayed, and rejected applications must be resubmitted for consideration against the next month’s quota.
  • Business impact: The exhaustion of quotas for RCoSs will interrupt business schedules where applications are rejected and may impact corporate budgets.
  • Next steps: Companies should contact their BAL representative to discuss strategies and options in the coming months.

Background: The annual quota for certificates of sponsorship is 20,700 allotted on a monthly basis, with 2,250 in April and 1,650 for all other months. Under the points-based system, applications must meet the minimum 32 points. In June, however, applications with 32 points would still have been rejected; moreover, the Home Office is likely to confirm that 50 points were required for success in June. Applications that did not meet June’s points requirement will not automatically be considered when slots become available the following month, and companies must resubmit rejected applications.

BAL Analysis: Companies should anticipate lower numbers of RCoSs issued in the next few months and may want to budget for higher salaries above the minimum levels to stand a better chance of approval.

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