Jul 26 2018

Tier 2 Quota Exceeded but at Lower Salary Cap

United Kingdom

The situation

The monthly quota for non-European Economic Area nationals sponsored under the Tier 2 (General) Visa category has been exceeded again, but with a much lower salary cap of GBP 41,000.

A closer look

Applications submitted by July 5, 2018 for Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (RCOS) where applicants were to be paid under GBP 41,000 have been refused unless they are PhD-level jobs, a role listed on the recognised shortage occupation list, or were prioritised for other reasons.

While the quota was still exceeded, the salary cap of GBP 41,000 is much lower than the GBP 50,000-60,000 range over the past months.

Applicants whose RCOS applications are refused 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 such as whether the application can or should be re-filed next month or whether other options exist.


There is an annual quota of 20,700 RCOS and a fixed number of spaces are available each month. The quota has been exceeded each month since December 2017. Recently, doctors  and nurses have been removed from the quota allocation.

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, amongst others.

Looking ahead

Fragomen expects that the RCOS quota will continue to be exceeded over the coming months due to the volume of re-applications. However, hopefully the salary cap will continue to decrease which will allow more applicants to qualify for an RCOS upon first filing. 

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].