The cap for restricted Tier 2 (General) Certificates of Sponsorship (COS) has been met this month (June 2015), which is the first time since the scheme was introduced in 2010. This has led to the refusal of many applications to sponsor skilled workers despite the roles meeting the relevant Code of Practice. This will have a significant impact on businesses with essential skilled positions remaining unfilled.
The annual quota for restricted Tier 2 (General) COS is 20,700. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) review applications for restricted COS monthly with priority given to roles on the shortage occupation list and then PhD level positions. The remainder of the quota is allocated based on salary, with those with the highest salary taking priority. UKVI has confirmed that the remaining quota in June 2015 was allocated to roles with a minimum salary of £46,000.
It is likely that competition shall be greater in July, fuelled by June's unsuccessful applicants applying again and proactive employers applying earlier so that they can be considered in more than one month. Further, some employers shall no doubt consider increasing salaries so as to improve their chance of success (provided the job advertisement being relied upon details the higher salary) which could cause the minimum qualifying salary threshold to rise beyond £46,000 in the coming months.
This follows David Cameron's unveiling of his measures to "significantly reduce" the scale of UK migration from outside the EU. He proposed new restrictions on work visas and a higher salary threshold before people are allowed into the UK. The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has asked the government's Migration Advisory Committee to come up with firm proposals by the end of the year. It is therefore important that employers and representative bodies respond to the consultation to prevent restrictive changes which will adversely impact UK business.
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