The government have announced changes to the non-EU migration visa cap for skilled workers effectively exempting doctors and nurses from the tier 2 visa cap. Commenting on the move, Sophie Wingfield, Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s head of policy said: “Finally the government is starting to demonstrate some common sense when it comes to immigration. The NHS is reliant on staff from overseas to keep the lights on in hospitals around the country and setting an arbitrary cap on trusts’ ability to access the workers they need was ludicrous.
Data and feedback from recruiters to the REC has shown the UK has a shortage of candidates in a whole range of industries. This latest move on immigration issues may also be welcomed by employers in sectors such as engineering and IT as it could increase their ability to secure top talent from abroad.
“The need for foreign workers is only going to increase as the baby boomer generation retires so as well as investing in training for British people we need the government to take a pragmatic, sensible approach to immigration, not cling to policies driven more by ideology than evidence,” added Wingfield. “An obvious next move would be to remove students from the overall immigration figures. What we really need now is a clear, constructive post-Brexit immigration policy – something we are still waiting to see even in draft form – but this is certainly a step in the right direction.”
Elsewhere, the CBI’s policy director Matthew Fell said: “If these changes are as reported, businesses will welcome these reforms as a good first move. International skills and talent are a core foundation of the Global Britain employers want to help build.
“A successful migration system should focus on people’s contribution to the UK economy and society, not numbers,” he said. “Until our immigration system is reformed to reflect this, including scrapping the net migration target, businesses will continue to struggle to get the people they need to create jobs and growth.”