11 June 2018
The UK government appears to be bowing to pressure to increase the number of skilled migrants allowed into the country from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) under the Tier 2 visa system.
In a BBC interview, Home Secretary Sajid Javid revealed that he was “taking a fresh look” at the annual cap of 20,700 visas granted under the ‘general’ category. Allocations under the cap have been reached every month since December, resulting in more than 6,000 overseas workers with job offers in the UK being refused entry, including more than 1,500 doctors.
With about a third of all Tier 2 (General) visas going to doctors and other medical professionals, the National Health Service has been particularly badly affected and, last week, a parliamentary petition was launched calling for physicians to be put on the Shortage Occupation List, which would mean they would not be subjected to the cap.
Assuming the 20,700 annual allocation total was not reduced, excluding doctors from the cap would mean companies in such fields as technology, manufacturing and financial services would have greater opportunities to bring in the skills they badly need, particularly at a time when many EU workers are heading home because of Brexit.
Mr Javid told the Andrew Marr Show that he could “see the problem” with the cap, adding, “It is something that I’m taking a fresh look at. I know a number of my colleagues certainly want me to take a look at this, and that’s exactly what I’m doing. And I hope to think about this more carefully and see what can be done.”