May 18 2018

Tier 2 General Cap Reached for the Sixth Time

United Kingdom

The situation

The monthly quota for non-European Economic Area nationals sponsored under the Tier 2 (General) Visa category has been exceeded for the sixth consecutive time.

A closer look

Applications submitted by May 5, 2018 for Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (RCOS) where applicants were to be paid under GBP 55,000 have been refused unless they are PhD-level jobs, a role listed on the recognised Shortage Occupation List, or were prioritised for other reasons.

Since December 2017, only prioritised applications have been granted. The number of refusals increases each month:

  • December 2017 - 1,093
  • January 2018 - 1,383
  • February 2018 – 1,648
  • March 2018 – 1,956


Applicants whose RCOS applications are refused, perhaps now even for a sixth time, will be able to reapply for a RCOS next month provided the advertising undertaken by their prospective employer is still valid. There is no right of appeal following refusal.


Fragomen will notify employers of rejected applications and will discuss strategic options in light of the increasing number of refusals.


The annual quota of 20,700 renewed last month and a fixed number of spaces are available each month.

The Tier 2 (General) Visa quota affects foreign nationals applying for a visa from outside the United Kingdom who will earn less than a guaranteed amount of GBP 159,600 per year or those who apply from within the United Kingdom and are switching from the Tier 4 Partner category.

Tier 2 (General) Visa applications are processed in a priority order based on a points system: shortage occupations are awarded the most points, followed by PhD-level jobs and lastly points are awarded based on salary. Applications can also be prioritised for other reasons, such as UK graduates being recruited through a milkround, among others.

Looking ahead

Fragomen expects the number of applications to continue to exceed the quota.

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].