UK Tier 2 Visa Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship Shortage in December 2017 biggest in years

Support migrant centric journalism today and donate

The last time it was more difficult for employers with a tier 2 sponsorship licence to obtain a tier 2 visa to employ people resident outside the UK (or people who have to apply from outside the UK) was some years ago. In many cases it will only be possible to obtain tier 2 visas, based on the December 2017 allocation, to employ overseas nationals living outside the UK is if the salary rate is at least £55,000 per year.  There are many applying again by 5 January 2018 to see if it will be easier in January to obtain a restricted certificate of sponsorship.

In December Following the latest Tier 2 visa allocation meeting, the number of Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) available for December, 2017 stood at 1,512 – now the lowest figure in 2017 - according to UK Visas and Immigration data. The department published its November report citing that its figures were correct as of 28 November, 2017. Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship are needed to employ overseas workers based outside the UK.  Usually, you need to apply by the fifthy of the month to come under the next allocation of restricted certificates of sponsorship.

Sanwar Ali Comment:

The last time there was such a big shortage of restricted Certificates of Sponsorship was years ago. You needed to gain fifty-five points in December 2017 under the points system for restricted certificates of sponsorship. Usually you only need to gain 21 points. It should be noted that the tier 2 visa system and tier 2 restricted certificate of sponsorship system have separate points systems.

If you need to do a resident labour market test this will give you twenty points Then to gain an additional 35 points to achieve the required 55 points you need to have a salary of at least £55,000 a year. If you are on the shortage occupation list or in a PhD level occupation you will gain a much higher number of points and would still most likely gain enough points even if the salary rate is much lower than £55,000 a year.

Employers and overseas workers are anxiously waiting to see what will happen in January 2018. Perhaps the shortage of certificates of sponsorship will not be so bad then.

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.

The number of certificates reclaimed as not used and made available for the month of November totalled 309.

The November Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship allocation meeting took place on 13 November, 2017. All valid applications lodged by 5 November were successful, provided they scored 21 points or more. This meant that in November 2017 as long as you met the salary requirement for the job you would gain enough points. As already mentioned it became a lot more difficult in December 2017.

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

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


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


Number of certificates returned during previous month (October).


Number of certificates reclaimed as not used within three months.


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


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


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


Minimum point score for successful applications in November.


Total number of Certificates of Sponsorship granted in November.


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 December 2017.


Number of certificates of sponsorship available for allocation in December 2017.


The next UK Visas and Immigration allocation meeting took place on Monday, 13 December, 2017 and indicated the number of Tier 2 CoS available for the month of January, 2018. can help with Tier 2 Visa Sponsorship Licences and Tier 2 Visas

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. has almost thirty years of experience in immigration services, and have helped thousands of people to live and work in the UK.