United KingdomSeptember 17, 2015

In response to the continued oversubscription of restricted TIER 2 General Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS), the UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) will implement changes to the points-based allocation system. These changes provide an increased number of salary bands in the allocation system which will, in turn, allow for more of the monthly CoS quota to be utilized each month.

Current System

As we first explained in our Global Brief from June 11, 2015, oversubscriptions occur when more restricted CoS applications are filed than there are CoS quota numbers available for that month (as we have continually encountered since June 2015). During an oversubscription, application approval is based solely on the number of points an applicant scores, with preference given to the applications with the highest scores. Points are based on the type of position (Shortage Occupation, PhD-Level Position, or another position for which a Resident Labor Market Test has been performed), and the salary band for the position (currently starts with £20,800-£20,999.99, up to £100,000-£155,299.99).

Allocations, however, are not issued/denied based on a simple cut-off number of points; rather, CoS are assigned per group of applications with the same score. This means that if the next score group to be considered contains more applications than there are CoS still available, then the whole group of applications, as well as any applications with lower scores, will be rejected and the remaining available CoS will carry over to the next month. The only exception to this rule is when the whole group would exceed the monthly allocation limit by 100 or fewer CoS, in which case CoS will be “borrowed” from next month’s quota.

What’s Changed?

Both the number of points assigned to the type of position, as well as the number of salary brackets will be amended effective as of the upcoming month’s allocation round (meeting on October 12). A minimum score of 21 points will be required to qualify for a restricted CoS. The new points table looks as follows:

Type of Job

• Shortage occupation: 130 points
• PhD-level occupation code and job passes Residence Labor Market Test (or an exemption applies): 75 points
• Job passes Resident Labor Market Test (or an exemption applies): 20 points

Salary

• £100,000 – £155,299.99: 60 points
• £75,000 – £99,999.99: 55 points
• £70,000 – £74,999.99: 50 points
• £65,000 – £69,999.99: 45 points
• £60,000 – £64,999.99: 40 points
• £55,000 – £59,999.99: 35 points
• £50,000 – £54,999.99: 90 points
• £45,000 – £49,999.99: 25 points
• £44,000 – £44,999.99: 24 points

• £22,000 – £22,999.99: 2 points
• £20,800 – £21,999.99: 1 point

The implementation of this new table has the biggest impact on applications for positions with a salary between £32,000 and £75,000: the previous points table only included 2 salary brackets for this wide range of salaries (i.e. £32,000-£45,999.99 and £46,000-£74,999.99) while the new table divides this range into 19 distinct bands. These smaller salary brackets will ensure that the number of applications per salary bracket decreases drastically, which in turn reduces the amount of CoS applications that would need to be rejected in case of an oversubscription.

How These Changes Affect You

Salary requirements to qualify for a restricted TIER 2 General CoS have not changed, but, in case of an oversubscription, the introduction of smaller salary bands does increase your chances of success in applying for a CoS for a lower salary position. Therefore at Pro-Link GLOBAL, we welcome this initiative.

Although it is expected that this change will increase the amount of CoS allocated in a given month, note that the monthly quota itself has not undergone any change – the already available quota will only be used more effectively. Further note that the application process itself has not changed in any way either.

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Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. We would like to remind you that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your immigration specialist or your client relations manager at Pro-Link GLOBAL should you require any additional clarification. This alert was prepared by your Pro-Link GLOBAL Knowledge Management team.

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