Home secretary pledges to review tier 2 cap

Following out cry over the number of doctors being refused entry to the UK the Home Secretary has called for a review into the current Tier 2 visa system.

Visa and passport
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.

Limitations of the Tier 2 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.”
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Pressures on the NHS

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said he hoped Mr Javid’s approach would lead to the Home Office implementing a “speedy, effective solution”.
He added, “We welcome a government review of the tier 2 visa system. Many of our employers could not again get certificates of sponsorship for doctors during May. It is now six months since we first started having problems, along with other sectors.”Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the chairman of the British Medical Association council, said that it was important that Mr Javid acted swiftly to enable the health service to recruit several hundred of the overseas doctors currently available, to ease the pressure on the NHS, which currently has about 93,000 vacancies.“The NHS could not survive without the vital contribution of overseas doctors and it is vital that the government puts the needs of patients first by implementing a flexible immigration policy that allows us to employ the doctors needed to serve the health needs of the nation,” Dr Nagpaul said.

Theresa May’s stance on immigration

However, Prime Minister Theresa May, who remains committed to reducing annual net migration to the UK – currently running at about 240,000 – to below 100,000, has yet to be convinced of the wisdom of overhauling the Tier 2 system, according to newspaper reports.She has also rejected previous calls to exclude foreign students from the migration figures – a proposal Mr Javid backed in the television interview.Mr Javid said he understood criticism of the policy and that he empathised with the view that it did not make the UK sound very welcoming to overseas students.As long as students returned home after their studies, he said that they should have no long-term impact on migration to the UK. “There is a perception problem around this,” he said. “It’s something I’ve long considered...something I would like to look at again.”Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory 

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