05 April 2012

UK visa limits to remain in place until next election

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Immigration Minister Damian Green has confirmed that the UK visa limit of 20,700 Tier 2 applications will remain in place until 2014.

UK immigration

Immigration Minister Damian Green confirmed the UK visa limit would remain place to demonstrate 'Britain is open for business'

The limit on UK visa applications had originally been expected to further reduced but Mr Green said today that the limit would remain constant in an effort to demonstrate that the UK welcomes skilled migrants.

"The Government has been clear that UK is open for business and our limit has been designed with the industry's needs in mind.

"The limit, which is undersubscribed, has not stopped a single skilled worker from coming to the UK. We believe there is no incompatibility between economic growth and controlling migrations - our reformed, more selective immigration system can achieve both."

Under current visa rules, employers must attempt to recruit a British citizen before being allowed to consider foreign nationals. This often meant that jobs were advertised via the JobCentre Plus service, a step that frequently results in a deluge of applications from under qualified candidates.

However, Mr Green said today that jobs offering a salary of at least £70,000 or requiring skills at PhD level will no longer have to be advertised through JobCentre Plus first.

While the coalition Government's commitment to controlling UK immigration and reducing net rates to the 'tens of thousands' has been restated in recent weeks, this announcement is likely to cause some surprise to those expecting more stringent measures to be introduced.

Head of policy at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, Gillian Econopouly, expressed her surprise at the change:

"Whilst we remain opposed to the immigration cap in principle, it is good news that Government has heard the concerns of business loud and clear and avoided further tightening the cap for the next two years.

"Although the total cap limit was not reached in 2011/2012, as the economy recovers businesses will need to access specialist talent from overseas more than ever. The ability to bring in highly-skilled workers is critical to the creation of jobs and growth for our domestic labour market."

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.

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