Changes to salary ranges aim to increase Tier 2 RCoS allocations

4 Sep 15

UNITED KINGDOM

IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? To address recent oversubscription of Tier 2 Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (RCoS) requests, the Home Office announced today that it is changing the system of prioritizing these requests. The agency is introducing a greater range of salary bands within the points-awarding table, with an aim to maximize the number of places that can be allocated each month within the overall annual limit of 20,700.

What does the change mean? The change is intended to maximize the number of RCoS requests allocated per month. If the limit is oversubscribed, as has been the case in each of the past three months, applications for RCoS are prioritized according to a points table. The available certificates are allocated based on the highest points scored. Points are awarded based on whether the job is in a shortage occupation or Ph.D.-level occupation and the salary on offer. Under the existing regime, the salary bands have been too wide and, as a result, occupations paying between £32,000 and £45,999.99 all score 15 points for salary. The Home Office has increased the number of salary bands in the points table to provide greater flexibility to non-shortage occupations at lower salary levels to be able to reach the minimum number of points for approval.

  • Implementation time frame: Although the updated salary table is provisional until the new Immigration Rules are laid before Parliament, the Home Office intends to apply the new salary table for applications received after Sept. 6. Any RCoS requests submitted in this month’s panel will continue to be assessed against the existing salary ranges.
  • Visas/permits affected: Tier 2 (General) Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship required to sponsor migrants who apply for Tier 2 outside the U.K., except very senior staff earning £155,300 or more. The changes also apply to Tier 4 dependents who apply to switch into Tier 2 in the U.K. to take up a skilled job.
  • Who is affected: Companies applying for Tier 2 visas from outside the U.K. for positions that pay less than £155,300 per year (excluding intra-company transfers).
  • Impact on processing times: The change should improve the likelihood of more RCoS requests for non-shortage occupation roles being approved in the monthly panel now that there will be greater flexibility in the points awarded. This should reduce the likelihood of oversubscription of monthly quotas and the need to reapply the following month.
  • Business impact: The change should have a positive impact on business now that employers will not have to artificially inflate salaries to meet unrealistic salary bands, and there should now be greater clarity around the number of certificates being allocated according to the points they will receive.
  • Next steps: Employers should contact their BAL professional to discuss the impact of this change on individual cases.

Details: The revisions to the points table are provided below.

Type of job Points Awarded Salary Additional Points
Shortage occupation 130 £100,000 – £155,299.99 60
£75,000 – £99,999.99 55
Ph.D.-level occupation and jobs that pass resident labor market test (or exception applies) 75 £70,000 – £74,999.99 50
£65,000 – £69,999.99 45
£60,000 – £64,999.99 40
£55,000 – £59,999.99 35
£50,000 – £54,999.99 30
Jobs that pass resident labor market test (or exception applies) 20 £45,000 – £49,999.99 25
£44,000 – £44,999.99 24
£43,000 – £43,999.99 23
£42,000 – £42,999.99 22
£41,000 – £41,999.99 21
£40,000 – £40,999.99 20
£39,000 – £39,999.99 19
£38,000 – £38,999.99 18
£37,000 – £37,999.99 17
£36,000 – £36,999.99 16
£35,000 – £35,999.99 15
£34,000 – £34,999.99 14
£33,000 – £33,999.99 13
£32,000 – £32,999.99 12
£31,000 – £31,999.99 11
£30,000 – £30,999.99 10
£29,000 – £29,999.99 9
£28,000 – £28,999.99 8
£27,000 – £27,999.99 7
£26,000 – £26,999.99 6
£25,000 – £25,999.99 5
£24,000 – £24,999.99 4
£23,000 – £23,999.99 3
£22,000 – £22,999.99 2
£20,800 – £21,999.99 1

Additional changes:

In order to implement the new salary table, the Home Office says it will need to make changes to its IT systems, which could delay the opening of the November panel by a few days. The agency will communicate further details closer to that time.

In another change, RCoS’s that are not used within three months will be returned to the quota (rather than expire), thus increasing the number that will be available annually.

BAL Analysis: This is a welcome step that hopefully will provide some flexibility and relieve the logjam of applications, especially during the busy summer season when graduate recruiting adds to the pressure on quota numbers. However, in the short term, employers should note that the Home Office is predicting delays in applications submitted in the November panel due to implementation of the new system.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact uk@balglobal.com.

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