What is the change? Under changes to Immigration Rules, the annual quota for Tier 2 (General) visas will remain at 20,700, but the monthly quota distributions will change.

What does the change mean? The redistribution allows for higher quotas from April through September, with the aim of accommodating the peak graduate summer hiring season. Any unused slots will be eligible to carry over into the following month. However, projected hiring rates indicate that they are more likely to be used when they are allocated rather than carried over.

  • Implementation time frame: Restricted CoS applications submitted by April 5 and decided after April 6.
  • Visas/permits affected: Tier 2 (general) skilled workers under the Restricted CoS route.
  • Who is affected: Employers recruiting and sponsoring under the Tier 2(General) Restricted CoS route, i.e., non-EEA employees hired permanently in the U.K. or assignees requiring a route to permanent residence.
  • Business impact: The change in monthly quota distributions should ease the backlog of applications in the April to September period, when graduate schemes put a seasonal burden on the system, as well as prevent excess applications from being carried over to the next month, delaying start dates. However, there is no increase to the total annual allocation, meaning that pressure may shift to the end of the fiscal year (January to March).

Background: Currently, the annual allocation of Tier 2 Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship is divided equally each month. When one month’s allocation is fully used, applications are carried over to the next month. Under the new rules, the following Tier 2 (General) allocations will apply:

Application Period Allocation
March 6 – April 5 2,200
April 6 – May 5 2,000
May 6 – June 5 2,000
June 6 – July 5 2,000
July 6 – Aug. 5 2,000
Aug. 6 – Sept. 5 2,000
Sept. 6 – Oct. 5 1,500
Oct. 6 – Nov. 5 1,500
Nov. 6 – Dec. 5 1,500
Dec. 6 – Jan. 5 1,500
Jan. 6 – Feb. 5 1,500
Feb. 6 – March 5 1,000 

BAL Analysis: The change in Tier 2 allocations will better accommodate the surge of applications in the summer, when employers onboard large numbers of new graduates, but it will also mean that the quota numbers are front-loaded and fewer will be available toward the end of the fiscal year. Given that allocation is prioritized according to salary, sectors that recruit higher earners will continue to be protected more than those that provide lower salaries.

Please note that further revisions to the Tier 2 routes are expected in upcoming Immigration Rule changes in response to recent recommendations by the Migration Advisory Committee. BAL will advise clients of these changes as soon as they are published.

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

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