The government’s skilled workers immigration cap for this year has already been hit. This is likely to have a knock-on effect and cause a backlog of applications for the rest of the year.
June’s allocation of Tier 2 visas, totalling 1,650, has already been filled, also hitting the yearly UK immigration cap of 20,700. The annual allocation of Tier 2 visas works on a rolling basis, so new slots will open up at the beginning of the month.
If the number of requests for certificates exceeds the 1,650, a points-based system is used to decide who will be issued a certificate. Priority is given to those filling posts at PhD level, in recognised shortages and thereafter with the highest salary.
However, the Home Office has already been forced to refuse many applications. Dominic Casciani, Home Affairs correspondent for BBC News, noted on his twitter feed that “among the visas turned down were applications to bring in nurses, doctors and teachers.”
The Home Office has refused to say how many skilled workers visa applications it received and refused after the cap was hit.
This comes amid recent announcements from Prime Minister David Cameron that the government plans to make it harder for businesses to bring in skilled employees from outside the EU in an attempt to encourage the training of British citizens and limit the hiring of lower-paid skilled workers.
According to Immigration Minister James Brokenshire, the reforms do not stop businesses from employing the skilled migrants they need, but aim to make employers “far better at recruiting and training UK workers first.”
Dissenters to the reforms say that jobs and growth will be negatively affected. They have pointed out that, although it’s good for businesses to hire locally, it takes years to develop specific skills. Reducing the number of non-EU skilled workers limits companies’ immediate access to these skills.
What does the skilled visa cap mean for you?
If you are preparing to go to the UK on a Tier 2 visa, your application may be delayed and you will have to compete for the limited spots available each month. If your application is already in, it will be assessed as usual, but one third of the applications have already been declined.
The best alternative for those affected is to check if they have another route to the UK, such as links to the UK via parents or grandparents. If this is not an option, we suggest sending your application long before you need to get to the UK to avoid delays.
With the Tories’ pledging to limit migration, the government will continue to make changes that make it more difficult to get to the UK. There has even been talk of scrapping the Ancestral visa, but as it stands this is still one of the most popular and easiest ways to get to the UK.