WORK PERMIT CAP – TIER 2 SPONSORED SKILLED WORKERS
UKBA has stated its position that it will continue to issue licences to employers for the purpose of recruiting overseas personnel, but there are new strings attached.
Previously, on the issue of a licence, an employer would be granted a number of Certificates of Sponsorship. The position is now will be that the licence is issued without accompanying certificates. This means that a second application is necessary to request an allocation of Certificates of Sponsorship. A Certificate of Sponsorship is the current parlance for a work permit.
UKBA expects employers to have completed the Resident Labour Market Test before seeking an allocation of Certificates of Sponsorship. Any request for certificates before the recruitment process has been undertaken is unlikely to be successful save in exceptional circumstances. The justification is that a pressing need for the allocation of a certificate cannot be made out until it has been demonstrated that there are no suitably qualified resident workers that wish to apply for the job.
The new requirement has the following repercussions:
1) it is usually necessary to advertise before an employer can seek an allocation of certificates;
2) there will be further delays resulting from the second application, i.e. the application for an allocation of certificates; and
3) the effect of the cap is that an application for an allocation of certificates must be made before 25th of each month for consideration in the following month.
Preference will be given to the issue of certificates to employers with existing work permit holders needing an extension. UKBA anticipated that most of the cap will be taken up with the issue of certificates for existing permit holders and it is likely that there will either only be a very small percentage, or possibly none, available for new hires, however, in practice this does not appear to be born out. Posts with a salary of below £36,000 will almost certainly be ineligible for a certificate unless the job in question is a shortage occupation or is already filled by a non-resident worker, e.g. a post study worker.