The Confederation of British Industry has told the Government of expressed its concerns about the UK Visa cap for non-EU countries, saying that it could undermine the ability of British businesses to operate in an international environment.
The Home Office imposed a temporary limit in June until the permanent cap is decided and put in place in April 2011. The interim limits apply to all new applicants under Tier 1 (General), except for extension applications and in-country applications. Applications under Tier 2 (General), which include intra-company transfers, are limited by the number of Employer Sponsorship Licences that are issued.
The CBI said that keeping Britain "open for business" is essential for the economic recovery, and that while the confederation was not opposed to the cap the interim arrangements brought in have “caused serious problems" for business.
The CBI said that skilled migrants with a job offer should be prioritised as they are able to contribute taxes, and the ability of companies to transfer staff from one country to another increases the attractiveness of Britain as a global location for investment.
John Cridland, Deputy Director-General of the CBI, said, "As the economy gears up for growth, the UK must demonstrate that it is open for business. Companies must be able to access the best and brightest talent from around the world.
"Interim arrangements are understandable to prevent a spike in applications ahead of the permanent cap. But the system is being poorly managed and proving a real headache for firms trying to keep on valued foreign members of staff, or recruit specialists from overseas.
"These problems are undermining confidence that the permanent cap will work. The migration system must support, not hamper growth. To do this, it should prioritise skilled workers with a job offer. This relatively small pool of workers doesn't just earn money and pay taxes here, but also keep major employers and projects here, supporting many more UK jobs," Mr Cridland said.