The threshold for Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (RCoS), widely referred to as the Tier 2 visa cap, has been reached for the fourth month in a row.
The Home Office has started to send out rejection emails today and this means that, yet again, the number of applications received for certificates has exceeded the number available to grant. Many businesses that have received a negative decision are on their fourth attempt.
As usual when the threshold is met, PhD level roles, those on the Shortage Occupation List and graduate roles recruited via a milkround have all been prioritised. The issues arise with roles that require a Resident Labour Market Test to be performed and that score the middle to lower end of the points for salaries.
We will not know what the exact salary threshold was for this month until the Home Office publishes its information in the next week or so. Last month, jobs needed to have a salary of at least £55,000 to receive a certificate unless one of the exemptions applied.
Businesses can reapply and applications submitted before 5 April will be considered in the April cycle. The good news is that there will be at least 2,200 certificates available to be assigned from the yearly quota of 20,700. The formal quota for March was only 1,000 so it is of little surprise that the threshold has been reached. Sponsors relying on a Resident Labour Market Test should ensure that it will remain valid.
We are expecting changes to be made to ease the pressure. For example, the way the points are dealt with in the sponsor guidance could be changed fairly easily to narrow the salary bands. At the moment, when the limit is reached all applications that fall within the relevant salary band are rejected (unless the numbers over are very small). The government could also look at removing certain types of roles from the limit.
If you need advice on this matter, including an assessment of whether or not an exceptional application may succeed, or in relation to any other aspects of sponsorship, please contact us.