IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? The allocation of Tier 2 restricted certificates of sponsorship for the month of December has been reached, triggering a points threshold.

What does the change mean? To be approved in December, Tier 2 (General) applicants must earn a minimum of 65 points, which means they must have a Resident Labour Market Test and a salary of £68,000 or higher. However, there are reports—though unsubstantiated—of approvals with lower salary levels.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Tier 2 (General).
  • Who is affected: Companies applying for RCoS for new Tier 2 (General) non-EEA skilled migrants.
  • Impact on processing times: Employers whose applications were rejected must wait until Jan. 6 to reapply.
  • Business impact: Companies may need to delay start dates for applicants who do not meet the minimum points. The reapplication of rejected applicants in December may place pressure on January’s quota.
  • Next steps: Companies paying lower salaries will now know which applications are impacted by December’s quota and should prepare for January’s quota being met for lower salary ranges. This may include preparing businesses for delays to start dates or working with BAL to consider if a higher salary could be paid to improve chances of obtaining an RCoS. Companies should contact their BAL professional for recommendations on individual cases.

Background: The annual quota for Tier 2 (General) migrants is 20,700, apportioned into monthly quotas. In 2016, the monthly distribution was changed to provide higher quotas during 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). 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: The reaching of the monthly quota indicates increased demand for Tier 2 workers that could carry over to successive months. Companies that recruit higher earners will continue to be more likely to have their applications approved.