What is the change? The allocated quota for Tier 2 Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship has been exhausted for July. Requests from applicants with fewer than 41 points and with a salary below £41,000 per year were rejected. Employers will need to resubmit these requests in August.

What does the change mean? While the quota was exhausted for the eighth consecutive month, the points and salary cutoff was significantly lower than it was in May and June. This is likely a sign that demand for Tier 2 Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship is easing up, especially after the U.K.’s recent announcement that National Health Service doctors and nurses were removed from the quota.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Tier 2 (General).
  • Who is affected: Companies applying for Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (RCoS) for non-EEA skilled migrants under the Tier 2 (General) category.
  • Impact on processing times: Rejected applications will need to be resubmitted in August, assuming that the resident market test remains valid.
  • Business impact: Companies sponsoring Tier 2 workers below the minimum salary level may need to delay work start dates. In some cases, employers may need to readvertise the positions.

Background: The annual quota for Tier 2 (General) visas is 20,700, allocated into monthly quotas with more visas allocated for the high-demand months of April through September. U.K. Visas and Immigration removed doctors and nurses from the quota in June, a move that appears to have already had a positive impact on the quota. The quota has been reached every month since December 2017; however, the points and salary cap dropped significantly compared with recent months. The points cutoff, for example, was 46 in April, 51 in May and 60 in June.

BAL Analysis: Pressure on Tier 2 quotas continues to pose challenges for employers recruiting non-EU workers. However, the removal of NHS doctors and nurses from the Tier 2 caps was met with approval from businesses and the backlog that built up over a period of months may be easing. BAL will follow matters in the U.K. to see if the drop this month becomes a long-term trend.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice and our network provider located in the United Kingdom.

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