The reports are in after UK officials conducted a meeting on allocation of Tier 2 visas for the month of October 2017. The number of Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) to be allocated for this month is 1,879. The UK visas and immigration data has revealed that this number is the lowest observed in 2017.
Certificates of Sponsorship come in two flavours. Restricted and unrestricted. Unused restricted CoS can be reclaimed by employers in the UK after 3 months. This essentially allows more unrestricted certificates to be used by other employers, while still keeping the numbers consistent.
It is easy to relate the drop in the numbers to the anti-immigrant movement in UK. But the figures should not necessarily mean anything. It is more likely due to the change in the requirements from employers and other options for highly educated people. For example, Canada is a popular destination for most skilled workers because of the relaxed rules and an easy point based system. It does have a lottery system, but that does not deter people from applying. If anything, the lottery system seems to be fair and lets in people whose skills and education are in high demand.
If Brexit negotiations are anything to go by, Britain has successfully parleyed imposing visa restrictions on some East European countries including Poland. This is all a part of decreasing the net migration numbers. But skilled workers do not have anything to do with it. It is most likely that UK will have different policy towards workers coming from the European Union and the rest of the world.
This can be considered as good news, because then the Tier 2 visa demand will shoot up and skilled workers from other countries will have a fair playing ground to compete. 2018 and 2019 should be good for the Tier 2 visa category.