Shortage of restricted Certificates of Sponsorship
It will be far more difficult to obtain restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) after the monthly cap was reached in December 2017 and January and February 2018.
The annual cap of 20,700 restricted CoS is split into unequal monthly allocations, with the allocation year running from April to April. More restricted CoS are available at the start of the allocation year, with 2,200 being available in April, falling to 1,000 in February and March.
A points-based test is used to assess applications, with PhD roles and occupations on the shortage occupation list being given priority. Remaining roles are assessed on the basis of salary level.
The monthly cap has only been reached once before in 2015, so that employers applying for a restricted CoS have generally been successful if the eligibility criteria are met, even for roles offering only the minimum salary of £20,800. However, since the cap has been reached in December 2017 and January and February 2018, it is also likely to be reached in future months, given that the monthly allocation is reduced in March and unsuccessful applicants will re-apply. This also means that restricted CoS will only be granted for roles offering higher salaries. For example, in January 2018 only applications for roles with salaries of at least £50,000 were successful.