UK Government Outsources Visa Submission Process, Applications Surpass Monthly Limit

May 25, 2018

The monthly allocation for Tier 2 restricted certificates of sponsorship has been exceeded again for the sixth time, and the UK government has released details of the outsourcing of the visa application submission process to a single third-party provider.

Tier 2 Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship Monthly Allocation Request Process

The monthly allocation has been exceeded every month since December 2017 and applications submitted by 5 May 2018 were refused where applicants were to be paid less than £55,000 (approximately equivalent to $73,600) unless they were Ph.D.-level jobs, a role listed on the recognised Shortage Occupation List, or were prioritised for other reasons. We recently published a LawFlash setting out full details of the annual quota and how certificates of sponsorship are allocated.

Applicants whose applications were refused will be able to reapply for a certificate next month provided the advertising undertaken by their prospective employer is still valid. There is no right of appeal following refusal and it is likely that the quota may be exceeded again next month owing to the number of resubmitted requests. We will continue to monitor the quota in the coming months.

Changes to Tier 2 Resident Labour Market Test

The UK government launched the new Find a Job service on 14 May. This will replace the current Universal Job Match (UJM) service which is used by Tier 2 sponsors with responsibility for placing adverts to support Tier 2 applications. The new service aims to offer a simpler and more streamlined way to log in and access information.

Account details for existing UJM account holders will automatically be moved across to Find a Job so you will automatically be verified and ready to post jobs once you register. Your account login will be the email address on your existing account and you will be asked to create a new password.

You will only be able to access your existing UJM account up until 17 June 2018. Any existing adverts or applicant details will not be moved to the new service. You will therefore need to save any information that you wish to keep from your UJM account before 17 June 2018 and UJM will notify account holders shortly as to how to save information currently on the site.

The Home Office has confirmed that copies of adverts posted on either site will be accepted as evidence to satisfy the resident labour market test and the Immigration Rules will be updated shortly.

Changes to Visa Application Submission Process for Individuals in the United Kingdom

As of October 2018, the visa application submission process for individuals applying for a work or study visa, settlement, or citizenship from within the United Kingdom will be outsourced to a single third-party provider, Sopra Steria. The aim is to streamline the application submission process by allowing applicants to upload the documents in support of their application in advance of their biometric appointment. 

Applicants will then be able to attend an appointment to submit their biometric data and present their original documents at over 60 locations across the United Kingdom. Applicants will have their original documents returned to them on the day of their appointment, and the Home Office will then process their application. There will no longer be premium service centre appointments at the Home Office in Croydon and other offices around the country. However, certain “vulnerable” applicants and asylum applicants will be able to attend these centres. Further details including processing times will be published in due course.


If you have any questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this LawFlash, please contact any of the following Morgan Lewis lawyers:

Jennifer Connolly
Yvette Allen