Jun 15 2018

Home Office Announces Medical Staff to be Exempt from Tier 2 Quotas, Other Changes for Tiers 1, 2, and 4

United Kingdom

The situation

The quota on Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship has been reached for every month of 2018 so far. At the same time, the UK National Health Service (NHS) has expressed concerns that there is a shortage of medical professionals in the United Kingdom. In response, the Home Office announced today that NHS workers will soon be exempt from the quota. It further announced a series of technical changes to Tiers 1, 2, and 4 that will take effect on July 6, 2018.

Impact of Changes for Medical Staff

  • NHS workers. Since the quota was first exceeded in December 2017, many Tier 2 applications without specific priority grounds (such as, PhD level, shortage occupation, high salary, among others) have been rejected. By removing NHS workers from the quota, more applications from non-medical staff will be granted Restricted Certificates of Sponsorships.
  • Applications for other industries. By removing NHS workers from the pool of quota applicants, a corresponding number of quota spots should become available for workers in other industries. Eligible applicants should similarly benefit from a higher approval rate upon initial application and reduction in time consuming refiling. Government officials estimate that applications for medical staff currently account for around 40% of Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship applications.


Technical Changes for Tiers 1, 2 and 4

While the Home Office is not modifying the quota levels, it announced today a series of technical changes that might also help alleviate some quota pressure. These changes will take effect on July 6, 2018. Fragomen will detail these changes in a later alert, but in brief:

  • A tightening of rules restricting when a corporate entity can act as the Tier 2 sponsor of one of its shareholders.
  • Immigration rules will be updated to reflect the name of the current website employers use to advertise for Tier 2 General applications.
  • Rules related to individuals with Indefinite Leave to Remain (the United Kingdom’s form of permanent residence) who spend extended periods abroad will be tightened.
  • The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category will be expanded to include the fashion industry, along with changes for those in the film and television industries.
  • Minor technical changes for renewals in the Tier 1 (Investor) category.
  • Several minor changes for Tier 4 students.


Looking ahead

Employers should soon see some quota relief because of the increased availability of Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship with medical workers removed from the quota. Note, however, that the quota may still be exceeded due to a large backlog of applications going back to December 2017.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].