Tech leaders say relaxation of Tier 2 visas may not be enough to solve the skills shortage

Last Thursday, Theresa May announced that healthcare professionals would no longer be subject to the cap on Tier 2 visas, this means more visas will be available for foreign workers, such as engineers, IT professionals and teachers.

It was back in 2011 when the then Home Secretary Theresa May introduced an annual limit of 20,700 Tier 2 visas. Up until December 2015, this cap had only been reached once, however, since December last year; it’s been hit every month, leaving companies struggling to cope with a lack of skilled employees.

>See also: Workers turned away by Home Office as UK face STEM skills shortage

A recent study by STEM Learning, a provider of STEM education and career support in the UK, found that the STEM skills shortage is costing UK businesses £1.5 billion a year in recruitment, temporary staffing, inflated salaries and additional training. The study also found that 48% of UK businesses are actively trying to recruit from overseas.

Other figures revealed from an FOI by CaSE (Campaign for Science and Engineering), show that the Home Office turned away 1,200 foreign tech workers with job offers in the UK.

>See also: The skills gap that continues to hold back numerous technology

Vinous Ali, Head of Policy at techUK, said: “The announcement on Tier 2 visas is hugely welcome. The tech sector in the UK is going from strength to strength. For this to continue, we need an immigration system that works. Tech workers are some of the most mobile and in-demand professionals in the world. If the UK wants to be a global hub for tech, then it needs to be open and attractive to the best tech talent.

“We hope this announcement marks a new approach from the Home Secretary – one where the needs of business and our economy come ahead of arbitrary caps and targets.”

“The next challenge will be ensuring we get our future migration system right and we stand ready to work with Government to achieve that goal.”

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Andrew Ross

As a reporter with Information Age, Andrew Ross writes articles for technology leaders; helping them manage business critical issues both for today and in the future

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