UK Immigration News: More tier 2 visas to be available

The UK government is to free up 40 per cent of existing Tier 2 visa quotas by exempting both doctors and nurses from the list.

Doctor working on a laptop
The Home Office officially announced that “as part of a long-term government plan”, doctors and nurses would be excluded from the annual quota that limits the number of skilled workers from outside Europe that can take up jobs in the UK to 20,700.

Job opportunities outside the NHS

Removing National Health Service (NHS) medics from Tier 2 visa quota will have the knock-on effect of freeing up thousands of opportunities for private industry and educational bodies to hire the talent they need from outside the European Economic Area.The Home Office, which outlined in new immigration rules laid before parliament on Friday afternoon, said that up to 40 per cent of Tier 2 visa places were currently taken up by NHS doctors and nurses. For six months since the beginning of December, some 10,000 overseas professionals have been prevented from taking up job offers in Britain because the monthly Tier 2 cap had been reached.“As well as providing a boost to the NHS, it will also free up hundreds of additional places a month within the cap for other highly skilled occupations, such as engineers, IT professionals and teachers,” said the Home Office.
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Making the UK welcoming to doctors and nurses

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said, “I recognise the pressures faced by the NHS and other sectors in recent months. Doctors and nurses play a vital role in society and at this time we need more in the UK. That is why I have reviewed our skilled worker visa route. This is about finding a solution to increased demand and to support our essential national services.”Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt added, “Overseas staff have been a vital part of our NHS since its creation 70 years ago. Today’s news sends a clear message to nurses and doctors from around the world that the NHS welcomes and values their skills and dedication. It’s fantastic that patients will now benefit from the care of thousands more talented staff.”Jane Gratton, head of business environment and skills policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said, “This is a positive first step. Non-EU doctors and nurses make up a large share of visas granted under the Tier 2 regime, so removing these workers will help many businesses across the UK economy to access the skills they can’t recruit from the UK. The cap on Tier 2 visas has been routinely under pressure from many sectors, with businesses having to compete for vital skills to fill growing shortages.  “However, if the UK is to truly become Global Britain, then this must only be a first step. The government should go further and remove the arbitrary migration target, and scrap the cap on Tier 2 visas across industry. The current policy hurts business and dissuades some of the best and brightest from coming to the UK, and any changes must help firms compete on the global stage.”Seamus Nevin, the Institute of Directors head of policy research, said the Home Office announcement was “great news” and a sign that ministers had been listening to calls for change.However, he called for more far-reaching reforms including a re-think of the policy to cut net immigration to less than 100,000 a year. “We must get to a point where immigration policy is based on more than trying to hit an arbitrary net migration target”, he said. Rachel Harvey, business immigration specialist at law firm, Shakespeare Martineau, said, “It’s early days yet but it is hoped that removing healthcare jobs will mean that employers do not face such stiff competition every month to recruit for other sectors.  Employers will still need to navigate the current costly and complex system, but this reform may mean that non-NHS employers have a fighting chance at recruiting badly-needed talent. “There will still be room for improvement and creative thinking is needed if the UK is to remain a highly attractive option for skilled overseas talent. Demand from applicants is there, but employers must be able to swiftly and painlessly recruit for their businesses.“Flexibility is essential and it’s important that any future new immigration systems take into account the rapid growth of new and developing UK sectors, such as IT and FinTech. Other countries around the world have managed this so is there really any reason why the UK can’t follow suit?”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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