In each consecutive month from December 2017 to July 2018, the number of applications for a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (RCoS) exceeded the number available.
A RCoS is a crucial document that a sponsoring company must issue to most international workers to enable them to apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa to work in the UK. The sponsor must first apply for a RCoS from the Home Office.
The first glimmer of hope that the problems faced by Tier 2 sponsors may be nearing an end came in July. The minimum points threshold reduced to just 41 points, meaning that more RCoS were available for lower salaried roles. This was a significant improvement on June’s threshold which stood at 60 points. We covered this here.
Last week the Home Office released its data for the August allocation. This demonstrates that it has taken just two months for the minimum points threshold to return to the normal 21 points following the Home Secretary’s decision in June to exclude doctors and nurses from the monthly allocation of RCoS .
The data for August also demonstrates that 2,256 RCoS were granted to sponsors in that month, 35 more than the number allocated. This often happens if the excess number needed is less than 50. Because these additional 35 were ‘borrowed’ from September’s allocation, there is now a provisional allocation of 1,965 for that month.
The number of RCoS available each month is referred to in the Guidance for sponsors. An annual limit of 20,700 is split (unequally) over a 12 month period. The allocation is front-loaded so that more RCoS are available in the first half of the financial year, meaning that during the period of October through to March there are significantly fewer RCoS available each month.
Whilst August has brought more positive news for sponsors, it is too soon to tell at this stage if the months of the limit being reached are behind us. We will provide an update in September and October once the Home Office data for those months is released.
If you require legal advice and assistance in relation to this aspect of sponsorship or if you would just like to discuss your situation with one of our experts, please contact us.