The UK Visa cap could stop business from employing skilled migrants and impede growth, critics argue.
21 July 2010
UK Visa cap could harm recovery warns British Chamber of Commerce
The new UK Visa cap introduced by the Government to reduce immigration from outside the EU could hamper economic growth, UK businesses have warned.
The Government introduced an interim UK Visa cap this week to prevent a rush of applications before the full cap comes into effect in April next year.
The interim limits will apply to all new applicants under Tier 1 (General), except for extension applications and in-country applications. Applications under Tier 2 (General) will be limited by the number of Employer Sponsorship Licences that are issued.
The Home Office is currently consulting with the public and businesses to determine the level of the permanent cap.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) told MPs yesterday that the cap will prevent companies from bringing in specialist and highly skilled employees at a time when the economy is vulnerable.
Dr Adam Marshall, director of policy at the BCC, said: "Firms really need to be able to employ the right people to drive the recovery and we can't be held back by arbitrary limits."
He said member businesses he had spoken to recognise that there is a strong desire to limit immigration – but there is also a strong need to ensure competitiveness.
Both Dr Marshall and UK Immigration Minister, Damian Green, appeared before the home affairs select committee on Tuesday.
Mr Green said the Government recognised the importance of attracting the brightest and the best to ensure strong economic growth, but unlimited immigration places unacceptable pressure on public services.
Critics of the UK Visa cap say that highly skilled migrants were not the group the public are concerned about and that the cap could have consequences for the public finances if it significantly reduces the number of highly paid migrants who pay a large amount in tax.
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their UK Visa applications to the British Embassy.