23 August 2010

Employers call for rethink of UK Visa cap

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Employers' groups have called for the government to rethink its UK Visa cap as figures reveal that almost one in 10 companies plan to relocate jobs abroad in the coming year.

A study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the accounting giant KPMG found that call-centre, IT and finance jobs are most likely to be taken overseas with the majority of jobs to be moved to India.

The study also found that many firms are also looking to recruit from overseas, with one in six saying they will bring in migrant workers in the third quarter of this year.

Gerwyn Davies, public policy adviser at CIPD and author of the report, said the current points-based system for UK immigration is working by only allowing in skilled migrants, and that a radical  UK Visa cap that is imposed too quickly could "choke off" the economic recovery.

 "The proposed introduction of a migration cap comes at a time when many employers are still struggling to fill skilled vacancies despite the high unemployment rate. The training of local or British workers to fill skilled jobs currently occupied by migrant workers will not happen overnight."

"[A radical cap] could potentially cut off a labour supply and impede growth in UK companies, which will be devastating given that the government's hopes for reducing unemployment hinge solely on the private sector growing jobs," said Davies.

The temporary UK Visa cap now applies 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. A permanent UK Visa cap will be put in place in April next year.

The UK Visa cap has ruffled diplomatic feathers with the Indian Government concerned that its skilled migrants will not be able to work in the UK – despite India being a major trading partner and source of needed skilled migrants such as nurses, doctors and engineers.

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