UK: Statement Of Intent Published For Tier 2 - 16 February 2011

An annual quota of 20,700 Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) for Tier 2 (General) migrants and 1,000 Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) migrants will commence on 6 April 2011 until April 2012.  While detailed immigration rules and formal guidance will not be published until mid March, this Statement of Intent represents the Governments current plans and they are unlikely to change.

The Statement of Intent can be read in full by clicking here.

This Law Now summarises the key changes for Sponsors and employees including;

  • Who is covered by the quota?
  • How the quota will work in practice
  • Restricted and Unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship

Who does the quota apply to?

  • Tier 2 (General) migrants i.e. "new hires" who are coming to the UK from overseas.

Who is exempt from the quota?

  • Intra Company Transfers ("ICTs") – employees with at least 12 months experience with the group overseas
  • Tier 2 migrants extending their stay with their current employer
  • Tier 2 migrants switching to a new employer.  However, for those coming to the UK after 6 April 2011, the in-country exemption will only apply to Tier 2 (General) migrants as Tier 2 (ICT) migrants will not be permitted to switch in-country to Tier 2 (General).


Employee has a CoS with Sponsor A under Tier 2 (ICT) granted May 2011.  In September  2011 he wishes to move to Sponsor B which requires a Tier 2 (General) permission.  He  cannot switch while he is in the UK.  He will have to leave the UK to apply from overseas and will therefore be subject to the quota (unless exempt because of salary).

  • Those admitted in another immigration category e.g. Tier 1 (General), Tier 4 (General) i.e. (student), Tier 1 (Post study work).
  • Those earning salary of at least £150,000.  Please note that the Resident Labour Market Test ("RLMT") will not be required for these applications.

How will this quota system work in practice?

Certificates of Sponsorship will be divided in to 2 categories;

1. Unrestricted CoS

All CoS which fall outside the quota will be classified as "unrestricted".  Sponsors will shortly be contacted, as under the current system, by the UKBA to request an initial allocation of unrestricted CoS which will then be shown on the Sponsor Management System.  There will be an ability to request additional CoS during the course of the year.

2. Restricted CoS – Tier 2 (General)

These are CoS which fall within the quota.

Unlike the current system, a Sponsor will not have a number of restricted CoS allocated to it.  Instead it will apply for one of the monthly allocations along with all other UK Sponsors.  

How many restricted CoS will be available each month?

4,200 in April 2011 and approximately 1500 per month thereafter (depending on demand).

How will Sponsors apply for a restricted CoS?

The Sponsor's application for a restricted CoS (no limit on how many it can request in any one month) must be submitted by an agreed date each month.  We understand that the "application request" will be on-line via the Sponsor Management System.

The UKBA will consider the application request against the ranking criteria based on whether it is a

  • shortage occupation;
  • PhD level post and a RLMT undertaken;
  • RLMT has been undertaken; and
  • the level of salary on offer for the role in the UK.

Please refer to the points table in the Statement of Intent

What will happen where the application requests exceeds the quota level?

The UKBA will award a CoS to all applications with sufficient points to place them above the threshold.  A minimum of 32 points will be required.  The Sponsor can then assign a CoS to the migrant – this must be done within 3 months.

If an application is unsuccessful the Sponsor will have to reapply the following month.

Once the system has been in operation we will have more clarity about which types of applications/roles/salary thresholds are likely to qualify, although there may be slight monthly variations. 

Changes to Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfers)

While Tier 2 ICTs have fallen outside of the permit quota, the UKBA will make a distinction between CoS depending on the length of the assignment.

Short term ICTs

  • This is for assignees transferring for 12 months or less.  They must be paid at least £24,000.
  • Short term ICTs cannot extend for any further period of time while in the UK and will not be permitted to return to the UK again as short term ICT until they have spent 12 months outside the UK.  
  • A short term ICT may return to the UK as a long term ICT provided salary is over £40,000.

It is therefore essential that a decision is made at the outset about the likely duration of an assignment so that an application is filed under the correct category.

Long-term ICT

  • A CoS will only be issued for more than 12 months where the UK salary is in excess of £40,000. 
  • They may apply for a limited period of 3 years and then may extend for 2 years.
  • A long-term ICT may spend no more than 5 years in total in the UK with no possibility of extending. 
  • At the end of the 5 years, the migrant cannot return to the UK as an ICT for at least 12 months.  


Jo Bloggs is transferred from the US to the UK as a Tier 2 (ICT) for 12 months in May 2011.  He is paid a salary of £39,000.  

In April 2012, the company decide they need him here for a further 2 years.  The company cannot extend him in the UK beyond 12 months as he came in as a short term ICT and his salary is below £40,000.  

The company cannot send him back to the US to then return to the UK as a short term ICT for a further 12 months (January 2013).

He will be able to return to the UK as a long term ICT in May 2012 only if his salary is increased to over £40,000.  

What about Tier 2 (ICT) migrants already in the UK?

These new rules will not be applied to them.

What should Sponsors be doing now?

Sponsors should focus on the following:

  • communicating these changes to the business. 
  • identifying  migrants who may be impacted by the  April changes and whose applications should therefore be filed sooner e.g. long term ICTs ( more than 12 months ) who will earn less £40 000 in the UK.
  • using any remaining Tier 2 (General) allocations.
  • ensuring that any RLMTs are concluded in the next few days for any Tier 2 ( General ) migrants that they wish to submit applications for in the first monthly quota in April.
  • assessing how many unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship they will require from April 2011 to April 2012.

With regard to restricted CoS, there is nothing that a Sponsor with a zero Tier 2 (General) allocation left can do until the request for allocation process is opened on 16 March.  However Sponsors must ensure that RLMT has been completed making the first request for an unrestricted CoS.  This may impact on timings.


Proposed start date of 1 May 2011 for new recruit who requires Tier 2 (General) under the quota.

1st Allocation of Restricted CoS  - likely to be issued early April and request for restricted CoS must be submitted from 16 March.

RLMT – must run for at least 28 days with sufficient time to consider applications.  Therefore, unless the RLMT advertising has been started by now it is unlikely the Sponsor will be able to apply under the April quota.

Transitional provisions for migrants already in the UK

The Statement of Intent confirms that the new requirements will not apply to applicants who apply before 6 April 2011. 

For entry clearance applications, an application is treated as having been submitted when the fee is paid and for in-country applications on the date of posting.

Applications must therefore be submitted by 5 April 2011 to be treated under the old rules.  For migrants applying close to this cut off date and who may receive a visa after this date, it is essential that they retain evidence of when the application was submitted to show that the post 6 April 2011 rules should not apply to them – for example biometric receipt/evidence of date of posting.

Good news for graduate recruiters!

  • Tier 1 (Post Study) workers can switch to Tier 2 (General) from within the UK.

    In addition there will be no RLMT required where they have been in post for 6 months or more with the Sponsors.
  • Tier 4 (General) will be permitted to switch in to Tier 2 (General).  They will therefore also fall outside the quota provided they file from within the UK before their visa expires.

New rules on settlement

Very general details are provided in the Statement of Intent on the new rules for settlement.  The proposal most likely to cause issues in that:-

  • Tier 2 migrants must receive the salary specified in the relevant code of practice (i.e. minimum market rate) and the level stipulated when they were last granted leave.

    This may cause issues where a migrant has taken a salary reduction due to flexible working hours, agreed a reduction in hours due to paternity/maternity leave or where overall remuneration is dependent on profit share. 


The Government has thankfully listened to the concerns of business over the last few months and the framework that has been announced is far more business friendly than we had anticipated when the quota system was first introduced last July.  We have particularly welcomed the confirmation that Intra Company Transfers and "switching" applications will be permitted for migrants already in the UK in another category.
The next few months are definitely going to be challenging for employers seeking to bring in workers from outside the EU.  As the new system is rolled out we will be able to gauge the minimum salary thresholds needed to qualify under the quota and the timelines required to recruit migrant workers.  While there will undoubtedly be issues to be addressed from some quarters, the UK clearly remains " open for business ".

This article was written for Law-Now, CMS Cameron McKenna's free online information service. To register for Law-Now, please go to

Law-Now information is for general purposes and guidance only. The information and opinions expressed in all Law-Now articles are not necessarily comprehensive and do not purport to give professional or legal advice. All Law-Now information relates to circumstances prevailing at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments.

The original publication date for this article was 17/02/2011.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions