New Proposal to Change the Operation of Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship


Were you one of the sponsors who saw your requests for a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship being denied earlier this year? If so this may be good news for you?

In June 2015, many sponsors faced their requests for a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship being denied due to the limit being reached, since April 2011 when the Tier 2 (General) limit was first introduced this was the first time this has happened.

Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship were introduced for Tier 2 (General) migrants who apply from outside the UK, with the exception of senior staff, who is anyone earning £155,300 or above. The quota is also applied to Tier 4 dependants who are applying to switch immigration categories to Tier 2 from within the UK.

UK Visas and Immigration announced today that they are proposing to change the operation of the Tier 2 (General) limit to maximise the number of places which can be allocated each month, within the overall annual limit of 20,700.

If the limit is oversubscribed, as it has been in each of the past three months, applications for Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship are prioritised according to a points table. The available Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship are allocated based on the highest points scored. Points are awarded based on whether the job is in a shortage occupation, a PhD-level occupation, and the salary on offer.

In June 2015 any requests for a non-shortage Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship which was below £46,000 was refused. Plans are now to lower the threshold to a salary of £34,000.

A revised table has been designed to give sponsors an indication of what to expect. The points will be scored as follows:

Route: Shortage Occupation – 130 points

Route: PhD-level occupation code and job passes Resident Labour Market Test or an exception applies – 75 points

Route: Job passes Resident Labour Market Test or an exception applies – 20 points

Salary Thresholds and Points
£20,800 – £21,999 (1 pts)
£22,000 – £22,999 (2 pts)
£23,000 – £23,999 (3 pts)
£24,000 – £24,999 (4 pts)
£25,000 – £25,999 (5 pts)
£26,000 – £26,999 (6 pts)
£27,000 – £27,999 (7 pts)
£28,000 – £28,999 (8 pts)
£29,000 – £29,999 (9 pts)
£30,000 – £30,999 (10 pts)
£31,000 – £31,999 (11 pts)
£32,000 – £32,999 (12 pts)
£33,000 – £33,999 (13 pts)
£34,000 – £34,999 (14 pts)
£35,000 – £35,999 (15 pts)
£36,000 – £36,999 (16 pts)
£37,000 – £37,999 (17 pts)
£38,000 – £38,999 (18 pts)
£39,000 – £39,999 (19 pts)
£40,000 – £40,999 (20 pts)
£41,000 – £41,999 (21 pts)
£42,000 – £42,999 (22 pts)
£43,000 – £43,999 (23 pts)
£44,000 – £44,999 (24 pts)
£45,000 – £49,999 (25 pts)
£50,000 – £54,999 (30 pts)
£55,000 – £59,999 (35 pts)
£60,000 – £64,999 (40 pts)
£65,000 – £69,999 (45 pts)
£70,000 – £74,999 (50 pts)
£75,000 – £99,999 (55 pts)
£100,000 – £155,299 (60 pts)

The above thresholds are provisional until the changes to the Immigration Rules have been laid before Parliament and are due to come in to effect in the 12 October allocation meeting. The allocation for these opened up on 6th September 2015.

UK Visas and Immigration have confirmed that the Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship process for requests will remain unchanged; however they will need to update their systems with new thresholds which may result in delays in accepting applications for the November allocation meeting by a few days. Should there be delays UK Visas and Immigrations will write to sponsors to inform them of this.

The above changes will not affect the number of Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship available in the October or November allocations.

A further change which also seems positive is that at present sponsors have 3 months in which they must assign a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship which has been granted to them. The new change will allow UK Visas and Immigration to return unused Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship to the limit; this will result in the number of Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship being increased.

This should make it easier for sponsors to fill a skilled role with an overseas migrant worker where required and avoid the request being denied.

DavidsonMorris Solicitors will continue to update you with any further changes regarding this topic, however if you would like any more information please call one of our experienced team members who will be able to advise.

If you require assistance with any aspect of a Tier 2 application or your business immigration practices, get in touch with us on 020 7494 0118.


Founder and Managing Director Anne Morris is a fully qualified solicitor and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

She is a recognised by Legal 500 and Chambers as a legal expert and delivers Board-level advice on business migration and compliance risk management as well as overseeing the firm’s development of new client propositions and delivery of cost and time efficient processing of applications.

Anne is an active public speaker, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility.

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

Legal Disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct at the time of writing, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

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