UK Tier 2 visa increased availability after quota cap hit for 7 months

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The Tier 2 Visa restricted CoS monthly allocation limit was reached in May and June, extending the trend to a record seventh month in a row!    As a result, prioritised applications such as those on the shortage occupation list and PhD level occupations have once again been granted ahead of many other applicants. Restricted certificates of sponsorship are required for applicants who need to apply for tier 2 visas from outside the UK. Fortunately, July 2018 should see a reduction in the salary requirements to obtain a restricted certificate of sponsorship.

Sanwar Ali comment:

In many cases the minimum salary to gain enough points for a restricted certificate of sponsorship reached a high of £60,000 per year in June 2018. Doctors and nurses being taken out of the quota from 6 July 2018 means more restricted certificates of sponsorship for others, and likely lower salary requirements in future.

Those switching from within the UK such as tier 4 visa students who have finished their degree or those already on tier 2 general visas wishing to work for a new employer do not need a restricted certificate of sponsorship.  So some employers have applied for tier 2 visas to employ migrants already in the UK and so avoided the restricted CoS requirement.

Thanks to the July 2018 changes more employees with an employer with a tier 2 sponsorship licence will be able to apply for a tier 2 visa. However, many say that this is not enough and that following Brexit, skills shortages will become even worse.

Those applications submitted by 5 May, 2018 for Restricted CoS, where applicants are paid less than £50,000 per year were denied - unless the job position is a PhD-level vacancy, or featured on the UK’s Shortage Occupation List, or prioritised based on other circumstances. The situation was even worse in June 2018.

Following the latest Tier 2 visa allocation meeting, the number of Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) available for June 2018 stands at 2,052, according to UK Visas and Immigration data. The department published its May report citing that its figures were correct as of 22 May, 2018.

The Tier 2 visa programme has featured heavily in the headlines recently, following a record seventh month in a row of the allocation limit being reached. As a result, UK employers have struggled to recruit non-EU workers due to a lack of availability of CoS.

April represented the fifth month in a row that the visa cap was reached, extending a trend that started in December 2017. Over the past five months, there have been widespread reports of an increase in UK visa refusal rates by the Home Office.

The trend has now stretched into May, leaving employers facing further struggles to recruit skilled, non-EU workers for crucial job vacancies.

Government was urged to increase Tier 2 Visa CoS allocation

Employers across all industry sectors urged the government to increase the cap or ease Tier 2 CoS restrictions, amid a growing skills shortage. However, the Home Office has so far refused to budge.

The government department has reportedly sent out huge numbers of emails to UK businesses and employers over the past five months, informing them that their applications for Tier 2 CoS had been declined.

Tech London Advocates, a non-profit organisation that serves the interests of technology entrepreneurs and London as technology hub, explained that it had written to immigration minister, Caroline Nokes, demanding that the annual 20,700 CoS limit be raised.

In a statement, the organisation said: “Mounting job vacancies in critical areas now threaten to halt growth and it is vital that UK businesses have access to the vast pool of skilled overseas workers that are needed to help fill Britain’s growing skills shortage.”

Tier 2 CoS criteria in May 2018 (June 2018 was even more difficult)

An employer with a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence needs to apply for Certificates of Sponsorship for immigrants they wish to employ. Under the current UK immigration system, unused Tier 2 restricted CoS to employ people who are currently based outside the UK can be reclaimed after three months. This increases the availability of restricted CoS used.

However, the number of certificates reclaimed as not used and made available for the month of May, once again totalled zero. Equally, there were no CoS carried over from April.

The May Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship allocation meeting took place on 11 May, 2018. All valid applications lodged by 5 May were successful, provided they scored 51 points or more, up from the 46 points needed in April.

The breakdown of Tier 2 CoS for the month of May looks like this:

Number of Tier 2 Certificates of Sponsorship from annual limit set aside for allocation meeting in May.


Balance of Certificates of Sponsorship carried over from previous month (April).


Number of certificates returned during previous month (April).


Number of certificates reclaimed as not used within three months.


Number of certificates granted by exceptional consideration outside of monthly allocation during previous month (April).


Total number of certificates assigned to Croatians in previous month (April).


Total number of Certificates of Sponsorship available for allocation in May.


Minimum point score for successful applications in May.


Total number of Certificates of Sponsorship granted in May.


Tier 2 (General – New hires under £159,600).


Tier 2 (General – Tier 4 dependant switching to Tier 2).


Balance of certificates of sponsorship carried over to June 2018.


Number of certificates of sponsorship available for allocation in May 2018.


The next UK Visas and Immigration allocation meeting took place on 11 June, 2018 and provided details of the number of Tier 2 CoS available for the month of July, 2018. However, after the change in the law the number of tier 2 visa CoSs available will be more than expected. can help with Tier 2 Visa Sponsorship Licences

If you need help with a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence or would like help with complying with your Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence obligations can help. Call 0344 991 9222 for further details.’s team of specialists has over 30 years of experience in visa services, and has helped thousands of people to study, work, invest and live in the UK. We represent clients under Section 84 of the 1999 Immigration Act, and we can advise and assist with your UK visa application.