New application dates and salary rates for restricted certificates of sponsorship

5 Mar 14

UNITED KINGDOM

IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? The Home Office will update its salary rates for Tier 2 skilled workers on April 6 – a change that will also impact upcoming application periods and allocation dates for Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (RCoS) in the next two months.

What does the change mean? After April 5, companies must meet the higher salary rates for RCoS applications. Therefore, the Home Office has changed the RCoS application periods in April and May, and delayed the allocation date in April.

  • Implementation timeframe: The revised application periods and allocation dates are for April and May. The new salary rates will take effect on April 6.
  • Visas/permits affected: Tier 2 RCoS applications.
  • Who is affected: Companies applying to sponsor a Tier 2 skilled worker who requires an RCoS.
  • Impact on processing times: There will be a one-week delay in the normal monthly allocation date for April only. The revised date is April 18.
  • Business impact: The new salary rates may raise the cost of sponsoring a skilled worker under the Tier 2 (general) category.
  • Next steps: Companies with RCoS allocations should assign them by April 5 where possible, before the new salary requirements kick in. Companies applying for their next allocation of RCoS should factor in the one-week delay until April 18.

Background: The new salary rates, to be released on April 6, put pressure on companies to assign RCoS before that date. Companies that do not assign by that date will be bound by the higher salaries.

The new salary schedule will also impact upcoming application and allocation dates. The Home Office will only accept applications for April RCoS allocations between April 6 and April 16 (instead of March 6 to April 5). Decisions will be made on those applications on April 18 (one week later than normal). The Home Office will accept applications for May RCoS allocations from April 17 to May 5 (instead of April 6 to May 5), but will decide those applications on May 12 in line with the normal schedule. Please note that the Home Office will still accept urgent requests between March 6 and April 16 via email. A company making an urgent request must submit both the application and its reasons for exceptional consideration on the same day to Tier2Limits@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk.

On April 6, in addition to salary increases, the Home Office will also replace several current Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) codes with more options that cover different job titles within those occupations. The occupations are: Electrical engineers, medical practitioners, pharmacists, health professionals not elsewhere classified, nurses and social workers. However, RCoS applications made before April 6 based on current SOC codes can be assigned after that date.

BAL Analysis: We strongly advise that any RCoS applications granted on Jan. 11, Feb. 11, or due to be granted on March 11, are assigned immediately, and no later than April 5. After that date, sponsors must make sure salaries meet the new higher salary rates before they will be able to assign them. Businesses and recruiters should be prepared for a delay in securing RCoS to support Tier 2 applications in April, as employers cannot apply until April 6 and will not receive a decision until April 18. Thereafter, the Home Office should return to its normal cycle of RCoS applications by the 5th of every month and approvals by the 11th of every month.

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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