On March 4 2014 the Home Office announced that it intends to update the salary rates set out in the codes of practice for skilled employees on April 6 2014. At the same time, it will replace the following standard occupation classification (SOC) codes with multiple options to correspond with the various job levels within those occupations, as set out in the codes of practice:

  • 2123 – electrical engineers;
  • 2211 – medical practitioners;
  • 2213 – pharmacists;
  • 2219 – health professionals not elsewhere classified;
  • 2231 – nurses; and
  • 2442 – social workers.

From a practical perspective, the introduction of multiple options for the SOC codes listed above will not prevent sponsors from assigning certificates of sponsorship after April 6 2014 based on restricted certificate of sponsorship applications submitted before this date.

However, the transition to the new salary rates means that the Home Office will adjust the arrangements for restricted certificates of sponsorship in April and May 2014 as follows:

  • Any restricted certificate of sponsorship granted before April 6 2014 should be assigned by April 5 2014. Otherwise, sponsors will need to ensure that the salary is in line with the revised salaries set out in the code of practice for the SOC code in question.
  • Rather than accepting restricted certificate of sponsorship applications from March 6 to April 5 2014 to be decided on April 11 2014, the Home Office will accept applications from April 6 to April 16 2014 and decisions on these applications will be made on April 18 2014.
  • Applications for the May 2014 allocation of restricted certificates of sponsorship will be accepted from April 17 to May 5 2014 and the decision will be made on May 12 2014. The monthly allocation process for June 2014 will revert to the usual schedule.

If a restricted certificate of sponsorship is required urgently between March 6 and April 16 2014, an application must be submitted through text message and exceptional consideration requested by email to Tier2Limits@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk. This email must be forwarded to the Home Office on the same day that the application for a restricted certificate of sponsorship is submitted.

For further information on this topic please contact Ilda De Sousa at Kingsley Napley by telephone (+44 20 7814 1200), fax (+44 20 7490 2288) or email (idesousa@kingsleynapley.co.uk). The Kingsley Napley website can be accessed at www.kingsleynapley.co.uk.