Employers who sponsor employees to work in the UK under Tier 2 (General) of the points-based system should be aware that the monthly immigration limit for skilled workers has been exceeded in recent months. The immigration limit restricts the number of employees who can be issued with a Certificate of Sponsorship under Tier 2 (General) each year. The limit is broken down into monthly allocations.

The immigration limit on Tier 2 (General) visas has applied since 2011. This annual limit is 20,700. The immigration limit has not proved to be a problem as yet as there has, until now, been an unused surplus of Certificates of Sponsorship available from previous months which have been rolled over to the following month.

However, there has recently been a clear trend of employers seeking to sponsor more and more employees. It is therefore likely that the Tier 2 (General) cap will be exceeded in future months, assuming that this trend continues.

If the immigration limit is reached in a particular month (and if an insufficient surplus is available from previous months), employers will be able to re-apply the following month. This could delay certain applications. It is also possible that some applications will not be granted at all if the limit is exceeded.

We can advise employers on the impact that this may have on the timing of applications. We can also advise on the way in which applications are prioritised, if the limit is exceeded.