UK immigration update - January 2018

In the first UK immigration update of 2018, the headline news is that the UK's monthly limit on Tier 2 Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship has been exceeded.

What is a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship?

A Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship is one that is issued under the Tier 2 annual cap for skilled work visas, currently set at 20,700 per year, hence being ‘restricted’. This type of certificate usually applies to migrants who are applying from outside of the UK to come and fill a new, permanent role with a UK employer. Each month there is a set application process to follow and until recently it has been relatively straight-forward to secure a restricted certificate for a prospective employee.

What is the monthly allocation and how are requests assessed?

In December 2017 the Home Office’s monthly limit of Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship was exceeded for the first time since October 2015.  This is due to the monthly allocation level being significantly lower than it has been for the majority of 2017 and therefore the number of certificates available has been exceeded by the number of applications made. This has meant that many applications have been refused, putting a halt to many employer’s plans to recruit from overseas.

The table below clearly shows how the allocation has decreased over the last 6 months of 2017. (The higher numbers in the early months had been caused by unused allocation from previous months being ‘rolled over’). This essentially indicates a continual increase in the number of applications being made, month on month.

June 2017 2,408
July 2017 2,321
August 2017 2,151
September 2017 2,140
October 2017 1,879
November 2017 1,531
December 2017 1,512
January 2018 1,409

The UKVI have not yet confirmed the allocation amount that will be available for the coming months, but a provisional allocation of 1,615has been stated for February 2018 and only 1,000 predicted for March 2018. This means that we expect a high volume of applications to be rejected again, especially where the salary of the applicant is towards the lower end of the scale.

What can I do now?

Resubmit the request - When a request is unsuccessful you can submit a fresh request the following month. However, the allocation for requests is of course very low again in February and March and it is likely that there will be a high number of applicants re-submitting requests. Please note where you are relying on a Resident Labour Market Test, adverts are only deemed valid by the UKVI for 6 months from the date the adverts were first posted.  If you take the decision to increase the salary of the applicant you must be mindful that if a salary range was stated on the original advert, the new salary still falls within this threshold, if not you will need to re-advertise the role at the new salary level. Mazars can provide full assistance with ensuring the resident Labour Market test fully meets the UKVI requirements and provide advice on salary levels.

Consider other visa categories– Mazars can help you fully assess the circumstances of your candidate and advise on other visa routes available where applicable.

For any questions or further information, please contact us.