15.06.2018 UK will review Tier 2 visa system

15.06.2018 UK will review Tier 2 visa system

After the decision to prevent over 2,000 foreign doctors and other essential workers from entering the UK was met with criticism, the UK decided to review its visa system for highly skilled professionals.

Between December and March of this year more than 6,000 Tier 2 visa applications were turned down from workers. 2,360 applications from doctors from outside the EEA were rejected between 6th of November 2016 and 5th of April this year and nearly 2,000 applications from non-EEA information technology professionals for UK work visas were unsuccessful in recent months.

New Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has stated that he will work to resolve the problems with skilled workers and students. “A number of my colleagues have asked me to look at this and it’s exactly what I’m doing,” said Mr Javid.

The above figures show an accurate picture of the state of the current Tier 2 visa system to date – it has clearly been overwhelmed.

Under current rules, a maximum of 20,700 “certificates of sponsorship” can be issued to high-earning workers for Tier 2 visas each year, but demand for skilled workers exceeded the maximum monthly limit for the fifth month in a row in April, as a decline in net immigration from the EU to the UK has prompted employers to seek workers from outside the EU. As a result, 10,187 of 18,517 applications, made in a recent five-month period were rejected and no-one earning under £50,000 per year was offered a visa.

Many employers have complained that they are unable to fill vacancies. Seamus Nevin, head of policy research at the Institute of Directors, said that workers with vital skills required to fill key shortages in UK industry and the National Health Service were being turned away under the current system. Mr. Nevin added, “If firms can’t recruit the skilled people they need to fill the roles they’re creating, Britain as a whole will lose out.”

The British Medical Association has warned that the ‘arbitrary’ cap for non-EU workers entering the UK was inexplicable and was ‘threatening patient care and safety’.

Mr Javid confirmed that he recognizes the concern around the Tier 2 visa. He said he was particularly aware of the worries about the NHS being unable to recruit the medical staff it needed because of the visa cap and stated that he would take a fresh look at the matter. Sajid Javid, has promised to ‘look at’ the system in light of recent demand.

One option Sajid Javid suggested would be to remove certain professions where there are severe skills shortages in the UK from the Tier 2 cap, however, this move would set him at odds with Prime Minister Theresa May. May has previously blocked the efforts made by former home secretary, Amber Rudd to reform the Tier 2 system and to make medical staff to be exempt from quotas – a move that would to free up space for other professionals.

The Home Office said the government fully recognised the contribution that international professionals make to the UK, however, the Home Office also stated “it is important that our immigration system works in the national interest, ensuring that employers look first to the UK resident labour market before recruiting from overseas.”