29 June 2010
UK Visa cap criticised by British business leaders
The UK Visa cap that will come into effect in April has been criticised by British businesses who say that balance is absolutely essential or the economy will falter.
The UK government has begun consultation with the business community over plans to impose a UK Visa cap on skilled workers in April. A temporary UK Visa cap will come into effect 19 July.
There are concerns that the cap on UK immigration would reduce the international competitiveness of British businesses and their ability to employ the best possible talent.
Opponents have said the cap also affects businesses ability to respond quickly when the economy does turn around and will have a significant impact on the ability to plan recruitment. As well as creating difficulties for employers to sponsor a needed worker, an immigration cap of this kind would actually do little to reduce the number of migrants as workers coming to the UK from outside Europe account for less than 15 per cent of all foreigners who arrive in the country each year. The UK Visa cap does not affect the considerably larger migrant group of people from Europe.
David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: "The stakes for the UK economy are very high. If restrictions on the entry of highly-skilled non-EU migrants are too strict, there could be damage to the economy and to future economic growth. It is absolutely essential to get the balance right."
Labour Party politicians have called the UK immigration caps arbitrary and unworkable, saying they would hinder Britain's economic recovery.
Among industries likely to be most affected are technology, finance and engineering, which rely heavily on overseas recruitment.
Prime Minister David Cameron made UK immigration a key part of his election platform.
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodging their applications for UK immigration with the British Embassy.