review of Tier 2 Visa; consider applying Now

Sanwar Ali Comment:

For seven or eight months it was difficult for many people who needed to apply for a Tier 2 visa from abroad. Employers and employees should seriously consider applying under the tier 2 sponsor licence and tier 2 visa scheme now, especially if the tier 2 visa application needs to be made from abroad.  June 2018 saw the highest salary requirement ever to obtain a tier 2 visa with in many cases a salary rate of £60,000 being required (unless you come under one of the exemptions).  August 2018 saw the points requirement go down to 21 points.  Therefore, in most cases the salary requirement will no longer prevent people meeting the Tier 2 CoS points requirement.

In many cases Tier 2 restricted Certificates of Sponsorship are being refused due to issues with the Resident Labour Market Test.  Common problems include the following:

  1. Not taking a screenshot of the advert during the time that it is online.  It is recommended that you print to a pdf file on the first day of the advert.
  2. Not paying the correct salary.  The salary rate is based on a certain number of hours per week.  If this is exceeded which means that the hourly rate is lower than the required level the Tier 2 restricted CoS will be refused.
  3. Not putting an occupation code that is at the required level.  In most cases the occupation code needs to be at least at RQF Level 6.
  4. Making some sort of mistake on the online form.   What may seem like minor mistakes may lead to refusal.


Tier 2 visa CoS Points requirement in June 2018 was highest ever

The Tier 2 CoS monthly allocation limit was hit in June, for a record seventh month in a row! As a result, prioritised applications received preferential treatment.

Meanwhile, those applications submitted by 5 June, 2018 for Restricted CoS, where applicants are paid less than £60,000 per year, have been 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.

Following the June Tier 2 visa allocation meeting, the number of Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) available for July 2018 stands at 2,187, according to UK Visas and Immigration data. The department published its June report citing that its figures were correct as of 28 June, 2018.

The Tier 2 visa programme has featured heavily in the headlines in recent months, following a record shortage of Tier 2 CoS available to employers that stretches back to December 2017. The lack of CoS has left many employers struggling to recruit skilled foreign workers.

Doctors and nurses made exempt from Tier 2 visa cap

Under mounting pressure from Britain’s business community, in a bid to ease the CoS shortage, the Home Office from 6 July 2018 made doctors and nurses exempt from the cap, which it says ‘should free up more Certificates of Sponsorship.’

According to the UK government, demand for Tier 2 visas is largely driven by the NHS, accounting for approximately 40% of Tier 2 places. However, according to a Financial Times report, 2,630 doctors from outside the EU have been refused a visa over the last five months, despite crippling staff shortages across the NHS.

Despite the Home Office seemingly easing Tier 2 CoS restrictions, over the past seven months, there have been widespread reports of an increase in UK visa refusal rates.  This should have changed since 6 July 2018.

The government department has reportedly sent out hundreds of emails to UK businesses and employers over the past seven 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 a 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

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 June, once again totalled zero. However, 187 CoS were carried over from the month of June for use in the July allocation.

The June Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship allocation meeting took place on 11 June, 2018. All valid applications lodged by 5 June were successful, provided they scored 60 points or more, up from the 51 points needed in May.

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

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


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


Number of certificates returned during previous month (May).


Number of certificates reclaimed as not used within three months.


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


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


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


Minimum point score for successful applications in June.


Total number of Certificates of Sponsorship granted in June.


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 July 2018.


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



The next UK Visas and Immigration allocation meeting will took place on 11 July, 2018 and indicated the number of Tier 2 CoS available for the month of August, 2018. The points requirement for a restricted CoS in August 2018 went down to 21 points, so making it much easier in many cases to obtain a restricted CoS. can help with Tier 2 Visa Sponsorship Licences and Tier 2 Visas and other UK immigration routes

If you need help with a Tier 2 visa, or a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, including help with complying with your Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence obligations, can help.

More and more employers are facing sudden unannounced onsite inspections. Contact us for a copy of our free Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence Compliance guide.

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at