18 May 2018
According to a FOI request to the Home Office, approximately 6,080 skilled workers have been unable to apply for Tier 2 visas due to their sponsors being unable to secure Restricted CoS for them. This relates to CoS applications made between December 2017 to March 2018 and includes 3,500 applications for engineering, IT, technology, STEM teaching and medical roles with professional services making up the remainder.
The refusals were a result of the Tier 2 cap of 20,700 which was introduced by Theresa May in 2011 when she was Home Secretary. The FOI request was made by the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) who have been lobbying for the abolition of the cap.
Commenting on the FOI response, Director of CaSE, Dr Sarah Main said:
"These figures show the scale of the problem and the urgency to find a solution. Across the country, businesses and public services are being blocked at the last hurdle from recruiting the people they need, including in health, engineering and tech, due to the visa cap. This leaves employers frustrated and the public poorly served."
Despite having offers from UK employers, overseas workers need to be assigned a Restricted CoS by their sponsor so they can apply for entry clearance as Tier 2 General workers. There is an increasing demand for Tier 2 visas following a fall in European citizens seeking work in the UK after the Brexit.
The Home Office are yet to publish stats on the minimum threshold which was required for May but we can expect to see another month of oversubscribed CoS.