The cap for the United Kingdom Non-EU Skilled Migrants (Tier 2) visa category has been met for the first time since it was introduced in 2011.
What is the Tier-2 General Category?
The Tier-2 visa is split into four categories, including General, Intra-Company Transfers, Sports People and Ministers of Religion. The cap has been met for the “General” category. In order to apply for this Tier-2 visa category, applicants must be from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, have a certificate of sponsorship from a UK employer, meet English language and funding requirements and have at least 70 points under the points-based immigration system. The applicant must have been offered a job with a salary of at least £20,800 but less than £155,300; must have had at least £945 in savings for at least 90 days; and is required to pay a surcharge to cover healthcare.
What is the Cap and How are visas Distributed?
The cap is set at 20,700 visas annually, split into monthly allocations of around 1,650. Each application is awarded a number of points based on sponsorship, offered salary, academic qualifications and English language requirements and the minimum score to qualify is 70. For example, applicants meeting the English language requirements earn 10 points. Applicants can score up to 15 points based on the level of education completed (up to 15 points for Ph.D.) Prospective salaries between £32k and £45k are awarded 45 points; salaries between £46k and £75k are awarded 50 points.
Who is Affected by This Cap?
Applications affected are those made under Tier 2 General non-EU only. There are no reports on how many applications were rejected; however, applications with lower points will be the first to be rejected. Applications can be resubmitted in July, but applications with lower salaries may not make the cut as the cap is likely to be met again in July.
However, there is a higher number of allocations for July (2,049) as once the monthly cap is reached, all applicants with less than the minimum number of points are refused certificates, even if that means the allocation for that month has not fully been used. As all applicants with salaries under £46,000 were refused in June, approximately 300 unused certificates will roll over to July.
Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfers (ICTs), graduates switching to Tier 2 and Tier 2 Changes of Employment are not affected.