The monthly limit on the number of tier 2 (General) Sponsor Licences has been exceeded for the second month in a row. June 2015 was the first time the limit was reached since it was instituted in April 2011. But despite a very public clamp-down on all forms of immigration from the Home Office since the general election in May, the appetite for UK Tier 2 Sponsor Licence places has shown no sign of reducing. July’s limit of 2,040 certificates, which included a roll-over from the previous month, was surpassed as early as July 16th.
The current situation is unprecedented in recent times and there is some uncertainty as to how it may be best administered. In practical terms, the effect of the current situation is that employers are unable to fill vacancies.
Publicly, the Minister for Immigration, James Brokenshire MP, has insisted that there are no plans to make any adjustments to the level at which the cap is set. The Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association have written to the minister asking for clarification on the issue going forwards, but at the time of writing they are still awaiting a response.
The government’s preferred solution is for employers to source staff from within the UK or elsewhere in the EEA. However, this is not necessarily a workable solution – for example in the catering industry where a particular cuisine is associated with a non-EEA region.
In July only applications scoring at least 45 points were successful. The ratcheting up of the pressure is reflected in the fact that in June applicants who scored a minimum of 50 points were successful.
All the available evidence is that demand will continue to outstrip supply in this arena with the result that the difficulties experienced by applicants for a tier 2 sponsor licence in June and July is likely to be replicated over the months ahead.