Stricter Visa Rules for UK Employers

By July 8, 2014Legal Update
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The number of highly skilled migrant workers coming in to the UK has been steadily falling following the implementation of tighter visa rules in 2011 according to a new study by the Migration Observatory.

UK employers are suffering from the effects of tighter visa restrictions shrinking the pool of available talent, according to a new study by the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford. This report comes despite insistence from Prime Minister David Cameron that the “brightest and best” of talented overseas workers are still able to come to Britain to work.

According to the study the Government are failing to meet their target of dropping net migration, which now stands at 212,000, which makes the prospect of reducing this figure to “tens of thousands” by the next election increasingly unlikely. The consequence of the visa rules has meant that businesses that are looking to employ specialist, skilled workers from countries such as the US or those in Asia are having to rely on talent from within the EU instead. For companies with an international presence, this is a growing concern.

The number of highly skilled workers dropped by 10% from 2011-2013, the period during which the stricter visa restrictions came into force, despite a 53% increase in the number of skilled migrants arriving from EU countries. Business Secretary Vince Cable believes that the results are concerning, telling the Financial Times that “the harder we make it for international companies to employ the very best executives, the harder it is to sell the UK as a place to do business and foster employment opportunities.” Immigration Minister James Brokenshire countered this suggestion however, suggesting that “this report shows that UK companies have access to the labour market across the EU, which has a combined population of 500 million people, and can still recruit highly skilled migrants from outside the EU.”

With less than a year until the General Election and with the Government looking unlikely to meet its pledge, it will be interesting to see how these findings are reported over the coming months.

Click here to see the full report from the Migration Observatory.

Curious about how the visa restrictions may affect your business? Get in touch with our team to find out where you stand.

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