27 July 2015 #Immigration
Last month we blogged about news that the cap on the number of Tier 2 visas for skilled migrant workers was reached for the first time.
Skilled migrants from outside the European Economic Area who want to work in the UK on a Tier 2 visa need to be sponsored by a licensed UK employer. The employer will usually need to apply for a restricted certificate of sponsorship (COS), which the migrant needs in order to apply for a visa. In June the number of applications for a COS exceeded the monthly cap, which meant that some applicants were unsuccessful even though they met the minimum criteria.
Applications are assessed on a points based system. The most skilled roles will score the most points and those applications will be approved first. For all other roles, points will be awarded based on salary. UKVI statistics show that in July, anyone whose job was not at PhD level or on the shortage occupation list had to score at least 45 points to get at COS – equivalent to a salary of at least £32,000. This is slightly lower than in June, when a minimum of 50 points were required (a salary of £46,000).
Employers intending to apply for a COS need to think about the salary being offered for the role, in order to have the best chance of obtaining a restricted COS. Although the minimum annual salary for a Tier 2 (General) visa is £20,800, the reality is that in recent months this would not have been enough to secure a COS.
Note that the monthly limit does not apply where an employer is seeking to fill a vacancy with a salary of £155,300 or above, or where the applicant is already in the UK. In such cases, employers can assign an ‘unrestricted’ COS without first applying to UKVI for permission.