Employers cheered after no visa cap imposed in August

For the first time since last November, all Tier 2 visa applications for skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area were granted by the Home Office in August.

Employers cheered after no visa cap imposed in August
The granting of 2,256 Tier 2 (General) restricted certificates of sponsorship (RCoS) in August was a direct result of the decision by Home Secretary Sajid Javid in July to remove NHS doctors and nurses from the annual limit of 20,700 – a move that effectively freed up more than a third of the allocations available.

An immigration system that works for the UK

Mr Javid, who took his decision in the eighth successive month when imposition of the visa cap left thousands of overseas professionals unable to take up job offers in the UK, told the Daily Express on Friday, “After we leave the EU we will end free movement and put in place an immigration system which works in the best interest of the UK.“We will ensure we are in control of our own borders but continue to attract those who bring significant benefits to the UK.”The Tier 2 RCoS granted at August's allocation meeting included 1,983 certificates set aside for allocation this month plus 243 'reclaimed' certificates from the previous three months and 35 certificates 'borrowed' from next month's allocation.Shuabe Shabudin, an immigration specialist at law firm Pinsent Masons, said that while employers would welcome the fact all RCoS applications made in August were successful, the news should still be treated with caution.
"We would caution that this result was only possible due to the clawback of 243 unused certificates from previous months and also the bringing forward of 35 RCoS from the September allocation," he said."This was, therefore, very close and there is a reasonable chance that the cap may be hit again in the near future. Employers need to be aware that this issue has not necessarily gone away and plan accordingly."

Removal of medical doctors and nurses from Tier 2 cap

A total of 1,965 RCoS remain available for allocation in September, with the next monthly allocation meeting due to take place on September 11.Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants said it was "delighted" that all valid Tier 2 visas had been granted in August. "More remarkable was that this was regardless of the salary offered," said the firm."This relief to other sectors of the UK economy comes after the Home Office removed medical doctors and nurses from the Tier 2 visa cap. This is also significant because the exclusion of doctors and nurses only took place in July 2018."Breytenbachs do, however, want to add a small caveat to the good news. This is a very encouraging sign that the issue surrounding the visa cap has been rectified. One can expect that future Certificate of Sponsorship applications should not be rejected on the basis of salary."However, as the previous issues were so unprecedented, it is difficult to predict what the future months will hold."

Warnings over extension of the Tier 2 regime

Earlier in August, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) called on the government to make major changes to the immigration system, which would allow businesses to access international labour with certainty. It recommended removing the annual skilled worker visa cap and opening up the Tier 2 regime to non-graduates.The CBI has also warned against extending the Tier 2 regime to EU27 citizens after Brexit, saying such a system would be "entirely unworkable" for businesses already struggling with the complexities of the current system.Ministers have repeatedly delayed publishing proposals for a post-Brexit immigration system and much now hangs on what the independent Migration Advisory Committee recommends in its report, due to be published in September.For related news and features, visit our Immigration and Brexit sections.
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