In recent months, UK employers have encountered issues with recruiting staff from outside of the EU.
The main route of recruitment of skilled individuals from outside the EU is on a Tier 2 visa, which is currently limited by a monthly quota set by the Government. Certain jobs get priority within this quota, roles that are on the Shortage Occupation list and roles that require someone to have a PhD are given priority each month. In each month since November 2017 however, this quota has been reached, meaning that hundreds of individuals have been turned away despite having a job offer and meeting the required criteria to work in the UK.
The repeated refusals of visas for business-critical roles cause a number of issues, not least to UK businesses in lost time, effort and money. Stopping individuals from coming to the UK simply because the Government decides there are only a certain number allowed each month is undoubtedly damaging the reputation of the UK in being an attractive place to live and work. The exemption for PhD level roles that CaSE fought hard for in the past means that scientists are not likely to have been affected yet. But the cap is likely to have caused hundreds of engineers and technicians amongst others to be refused a visa. We have therefore called on the Government to revise the Tier 2 visa cap.
CaSE penned a cross-sector letter sent to the Prime Minister, that was supported by over 45 organisations from across business, universities, ?professional institutes, and research charities. Our letter calls on the government to take positive action in recognition that circumstances have significantly changed since the Tier 2 visa cap was introduced, and to exempt roles on the Government's? Shortage Occupation List and PhD level roles from the cap. This would allow organisations to recruit the people they need, supporting productivity. It would also send a positive message that the UK genuinely wants to be a global hub for science and engineering. Otherwise warm words from the Government are counteracted by current policy.
We have published an immigration policy review that echoes the calls we made in our letter to Number 10, while also recommending that the Government removes the cap on Tier 2 visas altogether. More broadly the review recommends actions Government can take to rebuild confidence in the short term and setting out proposals for creating a streamlined immigration system in the long-term.