On 28 June 2010 the Home Secretary set out our proposals for an annual limit on the number of non-EU economic migrants admitted into the UK to live and work, including an interim limit for the tier 1 (general) and tier 2 (general) categories of the points-based-system.
On the same date we laid a Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (HC 59) to implement the interim limit for the tier 1 (general) category, the category for highly skilled workers who do not require a job offer before coming to the UK.
In the case of tier 2 (general), the category for sponsored skilled workers with a job offer, the interim limit will be applied by limiting the number of certificates of sponsorship which licensed tier 2 (general) sponsors are authorised to issue. We previously considered that this does not require changes to the immigration rules. However, subsequent legal decisions have made the position less clear. For the avoidance of doubt, I am laying changes today which make explicit provision for the Secretary of State to limit both the number of certificates of sponsorship that may be assigned to points based system sponsors overall during any particular period, and the number of certificates of sponsorship that may be assigned to individual sponsors.
As the Home Secretary set out in her statement on 28 June 2010, the total number of certificates of sponsorship that sponsors are authorised to issue under tier 2 (general) will be set at a level that achieves a reduction of 1,300 in the number of migrants admitted under this category in the equivalent period a year previously. The tier 2 interim limit will not apply to intra-company transferees, ministers of religion or to elite sportspersons, nor will it apply to dependants of tier 2 migrants.
The UK Border Agency’s sponsor management team has already contacted sponsors in connection with the implementation of this interim limit, and will be writing to each sponsor individually to advise them of how the interim limit affects their allocation of certificates of sponsorship.