The monthly allocation of Tier 2 Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (‘RCoS’) was exceeded again in May 2018.
Prior to December 2017 the monthly allocation had only been exceeded once, in June 2015. However, since then the number of applicants has far surpassed the number of RCoS available, resulting in over 2,000 refusals in April 2018 alone. We have covered this regularly on our website.
Recently obtained Freedom of Information request data shows that the number of applications for RCoS has been steadily increasing and has now more than doubled from 1,812 applications in November 2017 to 4,325 in April 2018.
The Home Office has also recently confirmed that the minimum points threshold for May 2018 was 51. This means that for the majority of employers a remuneration package of £55,000 or more would have been required for a successful application.
This unprecedented shortfall has become such an issue that the Home Office is now sending warning emails to businesses applying for a Tier 2 (General) sponsor licence if their application suggests that they may require an RCoS in the future.
Within 24 hours of making a Tier 2 (General) sponsor licence application, those who indicate that they will require an RCoS are likely to receive the following email from a member of the Sponsor Casework Operations Team:
‘I am writing regarding your recent sponsor licence application. From the information provided it appears that you require a restricted CoS. Please note that there is no guarantee that an application for a restricted CoS will be successful. Therefore we are writing to confirm that you wish to proceed with your application and obtain a licence, alternatively we will exceptionally provide the opportunity to withdrawn your application with a refund of the fee paid if you do not require the licence for alternative positions within the organisation.’
The fact that the Home Office are willing to ‘exceptionally’ provide the opportunity to withdraw the application with a refund of the fee paid is an indication of how truly overwhelmed the Tier 2 system is.
Since the monthly allocation was initially met in December 2017 there has been much discussion as to whether the cap on the number of non-EEA skilled workers is still practical. The cap, which currently stands at 20,700 per annum for Tier 2 sponsored workers was first introduced in 2011 when the UK was still recovering from the recession and the demand for such workers wasn’t as high.
It is clear that in the short term a quick and sensible solution is required to ease the pressure on the Tier 2 system. We work closely with the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association and other organisations that are exploring ways to try and persuade the government to change the system for the benefit of UK employers. We will keep our website up to date with developments.
If you require advice on sponsorship and alternative options that may be available, please contact us.