IMPACT – HIGH
What is the change? As BAL anticipated last month, the allocation of Tier 2 restricted certificates of sponsorship (RCoS) has been exhausted for the month of January.
What does the change mean? Employers should expect that Tier 2 applicants whose salaries are below the threshold of £50,000 per year will be rejected and will need to be resubmitted in February.
- Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
- 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: Companies whose applications were rejected must wait until Feb. 6 to reapply.
- Business impact: Employers may need to delay start dates for lower-paid Tier 2 employees, and should anticipate the likelihood that February quotas may also be exhausted next month.
- Next steps: Companies should plan for quotas to be filled in February and potential delays to business schedules. Employers should work with BAL to explore paying higher salaries to Tier 2 candidates to improve their chances of obtaining an RCoS.
Background: The annual quota for Tier 2 (General) visas is 20,700, allocated 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: U.K. employers should anticipate pressure on quotas through March and plan accordingly. Companies that recruit higher earners will continue to be more likely to have their applications approved.