Tier 2 visa salary cap causes problems for UK employers Tier 2 visa salary cap causes problems for UK employers

Tier 2 visa salary cap causes problems for UK employers
24 Apr 2018

UK employers are struggling to recruit foreign workers, as the numbers of available sponsorship certificates hit their limit for the sixth month in a row.

The UK Visas and Immigration Department's March report revealed that the number of restricted certificates of sponsorship going unused within the 2017-18 annual limit was only 67, following the introduction in December 2017 of a salary cap of £50,000 (US$69,778) for most Tier 2 roles.

Tier 2 applicants range from general skilled workers and graduates to intra-company transferees. It is thought to be the most widely used category in the visa system. But reports indicate that, as a result of the cap, the government has turned down thousands of applications from employers lately.

Tony Haque, a lawyer at Baker McKenzie, told People Management: "The impact of the Tier 2 cap is now starting to bite and is definitely having an impact on some industry sectors." 

Restricted certificates of sponsorship are required to employ non-European Union (EU) or non-European Economic Area nationals on Tier 2 visas who are resident outside the UK, or who need to apply for a Tier 2 visa from outside the UK.

As the Tier 2 visa is now the main UK immigration route for skilled workers coming to the UK to take up employment, a lack of them is generating a recruitment crisis in some sectors, at a time when employers are already under pressure from lower migration levels from Europe ahead of the country’s exit from the EU.

To apply for the visa, both a job offer and a certificate of sponsorship from a UK employer with a valid Tier 2 sponsorship licence are required. The minimum salary needed to qualify is usually £30,000 (US$41,874) a year.

But when the cap is exceeded, the required points and salary levels are raised proportionately to limit the number of successful applicants. The minimum this month is likely to be £50,000, Haque said.

"This is creating a headache for many employers that have acted in accordance with the current rules and gone through all of the hoops to obtain a visa such as advertising the position for a four-week period, only to find that they fail at the last hurdle because the bar has been raised higher," he explained.

This January, immigration rule changes also made it easier for immigrant workers wishing to switch from UK Tier 4 visas to Tier 2 visas. The situation has affected companies’ graduate recruitment as students were previously required to show they had successfully completed their degree course before being allowed to switch visa tiers.

"Unfortunately, that meant most students were unable to switch until they had received their formal results or degree certificates,” said Haque. “The rule change in January now allows students to switch prior to receiving their results, which should make the process for employers looking to hire such individuals easier."

Acknowledging the skills shortage in healthcare and education, the government also allowed in the Act for interim relief when recruiting professionals in these areas, although fees will be introduced from July 2019.

Emma

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

 

UK employers are struggling to recruit foreign workers, as the numbers of available sponsorship certificates hit their limit for the sixth month in a row.

The UK Visas and Immigration Department's March report revealed that the number of restricted certificates of sponsorship going unused within the 2017-18 annual limit was only 67, following the introduction in December 2017 of a salary cap of £50,000 (US$69,778) for most Tier 2 roles.

Tier 2 applicants range from general skilled workers and graduates to intra-company transferees. It is thought to be the most widely used category in the visa system. But reports indicate that, as a result of the cap, the government has turned down thousands of applications from employers lately.

Tony Haque, a lawyer at Baker McKenzie, told People Management: "The impact of the Tier 2 cap is now starting to bite and is definitely having an impact on some industry sectors." 

Restricted certificates of sponsorship are required to employ non-European Union (EU) or non-European Economic Area nationals on Tier 2 visas who are resident outside the UK, or who need to apply for a Tier 2 visa from outside the UK.

As the Tier 2 visa is now the main UK immigration route for skilled workers coming to the UK to take up employment, a lack of them is generating a recruitment crisis in some sectors, at a time when employers are already under pressure from lower migration levels from Europe ahead of the country’s exit from the EU.

To apply for the visa, both a job offer and a certificate of sponsorship from a UK employer with a valid Tier 2 sponsorship licence are required. The minimum salary needed to qualify is usually £30,000 (US$41,874) a year.

But when the cap is exceeded, the required points and salary levels are raised proportionately to limit the number of successful applicants. The minimum this month is likely to be £50,000, Haque said.

"This is creating a headache for many employers that have acted in accordance with the current rules and gone through all of the hoops to obtain a visa such as advertising the position for a four-week period, only to find that they fail at the last hurdle because the bar has been raised higher," he explained.

This January, immigration rule changes also made it easier for immigrant workers wishing to switch from UK Tier 4 visas to Tier 2 visas. The situation has affected companies’ graduate recruitment as students were previously required to show they had successfully completed their degree course before being allowed to switch visa tiers.

"Unfortunately, that meant most students were unable to switch until they had received their formal results or degree certificates,” said Haque. “The rule change in January now allows students to switch prior to receiving their results, which should make the process for employers looking to hire such individuals easier."

Acknowledging the skills shortage in healthcare and education, the government also allowed in the Act for interim relief when recruiting professionals in these areas, although fees will be introduced from July 2019.

Emma

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

 

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