U.K. authorities announced that the monthly visa allocation for Tier 1 visas filed outside of the U.K. was reached on October 21, 2010. The U.K. introduced the monthly cap of 600 visas on July 19, 2010 but, until now, the cap had not been reached. U.K. authorities will accept and process applications filed after October 21, however the visa will not be issued until November 2010. Any unused allocations from July onwards have been rolled over to subsequent months. The increase in Tier 1 visa applications is likely to be a direct result of the lack of Tier 2 General Certificates of Sponsorship available to employers.
In September 2010, processing of U.K. visas in the United States changed such that only the Consulates in Los Angeles and New York may issue visas. In addition, processing times are expected to increase to 15 business days. However, the U.K. Consulates offer expedited processing, with issuance in two business days, if the applicant pays an additional $150 fee.