UKVI caved in to pressure in September and introduced a new points table to assess allocations under the Tier 2 cap.

The Conservative Government has pledged that the cap on skilled migrants from outside the EU will be retained at the current level of 20,700 throughout the next Parliament. Tier 2 sponsors will, however, be aware that the limit on Tier 2 restricted certificates of sponsorship (RCoS) was reached for the months of June, July and August. This meant that some sponsors had their applications for an RCoS refused causing disruption to their businesses.

In an effort to address this and maximise the number of RCoS which can be allocated each month but staying within the overall limit of 20,700, the Home Office introduced a new points table with more salary bands. Click here for a comparison between the old and new proposed table to be applied from October 2015.

Why the change?

Under the current table, an application for an RCoS can be refused where the number of applications received exceeds the limit for that month (about 1,650). To determine which applications are refused and which are to be granted, the UKVI applies a points based system (PBS), with priority granted to those who score the highest. The salary bands in the current table are relatively wide with jobs paying £32,000 to £45,999.99 all scoring 15 points thereby increasing the chances of refusal for anyone in that bracket.

For example, in the month of June, only those who scored a minimum of 50 points were granted an RCoS. This meant that any application for an RCoS where the salary fell below £46,000 was refused. To improve flexibility, the UKVI intends to increase the number of salary bands in the points table. The change will mean that, in June, UKVI would have been able to allocate RCoS to all non-shortage occupations with a salary of £34,000 or more rather than £46,000 under the existing table.

Shortage and PhD level occupations

Although the number of points allocated to shortage and PhD level occupations is different, the prioritisation given to these roles is unchanged.

Application process

Sponsors will continue to apply using the sponsor management system as normal. The new table will be applied to applications submitted for October 2015 allocations onwards.

Other changes

To increase the number of RCoS available, the UKVI will be returning to the limit all RCoS which have been allocated but remain unassigned after three months.

Despite the introduction of the new points table, the cap was again reached in the month of October. It is hoped that the introduction of further job roles on to the Shortage Occupation List in November will help to resolve the issues around the cap.