IMPACT – HIGH
What is the change? For the sixth consecutive month, the allocated quota for Tier 2 Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (RCoS) has been exhausted for May.
What does the change mean? Requests for Tier 2 (General) Certificates of Sponsorship with points below the minimum 51 and a salary of less than £55,000 per year are being rejected for the month of May, and employers will need to resubmit them in June.
Background: The annual quota for Tier 2 (General) visas is 20,700, allocated into monthly quotas. In 2016, the monthly distribution was changed to provide higher quotas during the high-demand months of April through September and lower quotas in other months, thereby shifting pressure on months at the end of the fiscal year (December through March). The exhaustion of quotas at the end of the fiscal year, however, has carried over into the new fiscal year. When the monthly quota is reached, applications are ranked by points obtained, with more points earned for shortage occupations, higher salaries, and certain Ph.D.-level roles.
BAL Analysis: As expected, the pressure on Tier 2 quotas continues and appears to be a long-term trend. The quotas have been exceeded every month since December 2017, and with the excess applications being rolled over to the next month, the pressure is unlikely to be eased anytime soon. BAL anticipates that quotas will be filled every month going forward, and certainly until September given the annual peak during the summer period. Companies that recruit higher earners will continue to be more likely to have their applications approved. Employers should consider salary as the deciding factor in the approval of an RCoS request and anticipate that all applicants on lower salaries will be delayed and potentially disqualified. While applications do roll over each month, this is only automatic while the advertising remains valid (typically six months). A more detailed risk assessment should be made for all roles prior to advertising.
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