The Home Office is 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.
The Tier 2 (General) limit was first introduced in April 2011 and applies to Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (RCoS). RCoS are needed to sponsor migrants who apply for Tier 2 outside the UK, except very senior staff earning £155,300 or more. RCoS are also needed to sponsor Tier 4 dependants who apply to switch into Tier 2 in the UK to take up a skilled job.
If the limit is oversubscribed, as it has been in each of the past three months, applications for RCoS are prioritised according to a points table. The available RCoS are allocated based on the highest points scores. Points are awarded based on whether the job is in a shortage occupation, a PhD-level occupation, and the salary on offer.
Some of the points bands in the current table are relatively wide; for example, jobs paying £32,000 to £45,999.99 all score 15 points for salary. To improve flexibility, the Home Office intends to increase the number of salary bands in the points table. The revised table is shown below.
Click here to view table.
This change would mean, for example, that in June they would have been able to allocate RCoS to all non-shortage occupations with a salary of £34,000 or more, rather than £46,000 using the existing table. The prioritisation given to shortage occupations and PhD-level occupations is unchanged.
The new table is provisional until the necessary changes to the Immigration Rules have been laid before Parliament, but they intend to apply the new bands to the RCoS allocation meeting on 12 October, applications for which will open on 6 September. The 11 September allocation meeting will continue to use the existing points table.
Sponsors will not experience any changes in the RCoS application process; you can continue to apply using the sponsorship management system in the usual way.
The Home Office also intends to make one further change relating to the limit. Under the existing rules, RCoS must be assigned by Sponsors within three months or they will expire. The change will enable them to return any such unused places to the limit, increasing the number of RCoS available.
Information on these changes will be set out in updates to the Immigration Rules and the Sponsor Guidance.