Changes To UK Immigration System Set To Be Announced Today

Overall the final Immigration Cap will see 6,300 skilled and highly individuals fall outside of the system compared with 2009. There is likely to be a large degree of alarm among the business community, especially in those industries where there are already dire skill shortages such as Engineering & Healthcare. Top level bankers may be happy (salaries of £150,000+ are exempt from the Immigration Cap) however very few of the middle and back office professionals (especially IT professionals working on cutting edge trading systems) will be on such salaries so problems will undoubtedly arise.

Under the new system 20,700 visas will be available to skilled workers under Tier 2 General, and a further 1,000 visas will be available to those under a new Tier 1 ‘exceptional talent’ scheme (designed for Nobel Prize Scientists etc). The Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer (ICT) Scheme designed to allow multinational corporations to transfer employees around the globe will fall outside of the Immigration Cap altogether. The system has been frontloaded with 4,200 visas available to meet strong demand in April, followed by a limit of 1,500 places each month thereafter. It is believed that if the monthly allocation is oversubscribed visa applicants will be ranked using a points system designed to favour jobs on the Shortage Occupation List, Scientific Researchers and then those with a higher salary.

Dr Adam Marshall of the British Chamber of Commerce said regarding the proposed changes \”The new rules show that, after a period of great uncertainty, the government is listening harder to business concerns. The changes to the \’tier two\’ arrangements mean that companies will have a better chance of getting much-needed international talent, and growing their business. This in turn will benefit UK plc. However, we will continue to monitor whether the latest immigration rules hamper businesses seeking to recruit the skilled personnel they need. If problems do surface, the government must remain flexible, and make changes once again.\”

Problems Caused by the temporary Immigration Cap

The temporary Immigration Cap has caused many problems for companies in the UK, and not only small employers with unique requirements. Recently Airbus, the leading commercial aircraft manufacturer in the world, reported that it had been unable to bring in two highly specialised engineering experts required for work on a new Airbus wing due to the temporary Immigration Cap. According to a spokesperson for the company Airbus has made repeated requests to the Home Office to bring in the experts for two months however their pleas were ignored by the Home Office and UK Border Agency. According to the company there are only a handful of engineers in the world capable of doing the work however their skills are not on the official Shortage Occupation List therefore any please for further Certificates of Sponsorship fell on deaf ears.

Even leading Conservatives, including the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, have said that the Coalition Governments plan to introduce the immigration cap will harm Britain’s economy and make the country uncompetitive. Mr Johnson said that \”There is a risk that the necessity of putting up a public show of rhetoric will do possible damage to London\’s competitiveness. I think there is a case for flexibility and I think the government understands that.\”

Government proposals including the Immigration Cap also encouraged the outgoing head of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Richard Lambert, to launch a scathing attack on the Coalition Government in an article in Spectator Magazine. Mr Lambert said that policies such as the Immigration Cap will “actually made it harder for companies or less likely for companies to employ people. The government is talking about growth in an enthusiastic and thoughtful way, but it has failed so far to articulate in big picture terms its vision of what that means. What I feel is that a number of their initiatives – I’m thinking of the immigration cap, I’m thinking about their move on the default retirement age, about the carbon reduction commitment – have actually made it harder for companies, or less likely for companies to employ people. And what we want, actually, is a sense of direction, a sense of ambition. It’s a common refrain.” Mr Lambert’s voice added to a long list of people voicing serious concerns over the implementation of the policy. So far this year organisations such as the National Health Service have told of the impending skill shortages the Immigration Cap is likely to bring.

Full announcements of the new system are expected to be detailed on the UK Border Agency’s website a little later today with full details being reported tomorrow by Commonwealth Contractors.

Commonwealth Contractors

Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing a Tier 1 Visa Application / Extension and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a doctor on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). Commonwealth Contractors also provides updates on UK Immigration News.

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