Were you one of the sponsors who saw your requests for a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship being denied earlier this year? If so this may be good news for you?

In June 2015, many sponsors faced their requests for a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship being denied due to the limit being reached, since April 2011 when the Tier 2 (General) limit was first introduced this was the first time this has happened.

Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship were introduced for Tier 2 (General) migrants who apply from outside the UK, with the exception of senior staff, who is anyone earning £155,300 or above. The quota is also applied to Tier 4 dependants who are applying to switch immigration categories to Tier 2 from within the UK.

UK Visas and Immigration announced today that they are proposing to change the operation of the Tier 2 (General) limit to maximise the number of places which can be allocated each month, within the overall annual limit of 20,700.

If the limit is oversubscribed, as it has been in each of the past three months, applications for Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship are prioritised according to a points table. The available Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship are allocated based on the highest points scored. Points are awarded based on whether the job is in a shortage occupation, a PhD-level occupation, and the salary on offer.

In June 2015 any requests for a non-shortage Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship which was below £46,000 was refused. Plans are now to lower the threshold to a salary of £34,000.

A revised table has been designed to give sponsors an indication of what to expect. The points will be scored as follows:

Route: Shortage Occupation – 130 points

Route: PhD-level occupation code and job passes Resident Labour Market Test or an exception applies – 75 points

Route: Job passes Resident Labour Market Test or an exception applies – 20 points

Salary Thresholds and Points

£20,800 – £21,999 (1 pts)

£22,000 – £22,999 (2 pts)

£23,000 – £23,999 (3 pts)

£24,000 – £24,999 (4 pts)

£25,000 – £25,999 (5 pts)

£26,000 – £26,999 (6 pts)

£27,000 – £27,999 (7 pts)

£28,000 – £28,999 (8 pts)

£29,000 – £29,999 (9 pts)

£30,000 – £30,999 (10 pts)

£31,000 – £31,999 (11 pts)

£32,000 – £32,999 (12 pts)

£33,000 – £33,999 (13 pts)

£34,000 – £34,999 (14 pts)

£35,000 – £35,999 (15 pts)

£36,000 – £36,999 (16 pts)

£37,000 – £37,999 (17 pts)

£38,000 – £38,999 (18 pts)

£39,000 – £39,999 (19 pts)

£40,000 – £40,999 (20 pts)

£41,000 – £41,999 (21 pts)

£42,000 – £42,999 (22 pts)

£43,000 – £43,999 (23 pts)

£44,000 – £44,999 (24 pts)

£45,000 – £49,999 (25 pts)

£50,000 – £54,999 (30 pts)

£55,000 – £59,999 (35 pts)

£60,000 – £64,999 (40 pts)

£65,000 – £69,999 (45 pts)

£70,000 – £74,999 (50 pts)

£75,000 – £99,999 (55 pts)

£100,000 – £155,299 (60 pts)

The above thresholds are provisional until the changes to the Immigration Rules have been laid before Parliament and are due to come in to effect in the 12 October allocation meeting. The allocation for these opened up on 6th September 2015.

UK Visas and Immigration have confirmed that the Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship process for requests will remain unchanged; however they will need to update their systems with new thresholds which may result in delays in accepting applications for the November allocation meeting by a few days. Should there be delays UK Visas and Immigrations will write to sponsors to inform them of this.

The above changes will not affect the number of Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship available in the October or November allocations.

A further change which also seems positive is that at present sponsors have 3 months in which they must assign a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship which has been granted to them. The new change will allow UK Visas and Immigration to return unused Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship to the limit; this will result in the number of Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship being increased.

This should make it easier for sponsors to fill a skilled role with an overseas migrant worker where required and avoid the request being denied.