The Tier 2 Quota - a sigh of relief for Sponsors?
Following the Home Secretary's announcement regarding the Tier 2 annual quota, there may be hope for businesses wishing to recruit non-EEA nationals as part of the monthly quota.
Why has the Home Secretary intervened?
The Quota has been heavily oversubscribed since December 2017. On average over this period, for non Shortage Occupation/PhD roles, the minimum remuneration threshold required has been £53,000.
What has changed?
All doctors and nurses roles falling within Codes of Practice 2211 (Medical practitioners) and 2231 (Nurses) will be removed from the monthly Quota. Indications are that such roles account for 40% of monthly requests (equivalent to approximately 8,000 of the 20,700 annual limit), suggesting that there should be a positive knock on effect for most Quota requests. This change will be implemented with effect from 6 July 2018, meaning for requests submitted in the July 2018 Quota.
Will this work?
The fact that these occupations have been removed from the Quota outright rather than transitioned into Shortage Occupation roles, is a big positive. If converted to Shortage Occupations, the Quota would have become even more oversubscribed for roles paying much higher salaries. Also, given that these roles account for approximately 40% of requests, it should ease the burden generally.
Is this the end of the oversubscribed Quota?
Not necessarily. A significant proportion of the roles to be excluded may not command salaries exceeding £50,000. As such, any relief at the higher end of the non Shortage Occupation/PhD roles may be limited. Further, whilst no specific timeframe has been mentioned, the changes are being described as "temporary". Any relief may therefore be short lived.
What steps should employers take in the interim?
Requests under a potentially enlarged Quota can be made provided that the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) remains compliant. If the RLMT has become out of date, a fresh, compliant RLMT will be required prior to any future Quota requests being submitted.