UK Immigration Cap Faces Severe Opposition

The government is facing a continuous stream of backlash over the interim immigration cap and proposed plans for the permanent cap to come into effect in April 2011. Key businessmen, politicians, educators and even Nobel Laureates are calling for a review of the policy amid mounting concerns that Britain’s economy is facing sure disaster if plans continue.

British Business taking a beating

An increasing number of British companies are concerned with losing their competitive edge due to being unable to hire the most qualified people to fill the available positions. If the quality of their output decreases, it stands to reason that foreign competitors will move in on market share and this could prove disastrous not only to individual companies, but to British business as a whole.

The feeling is that the stricter controls would discourage talented students and distinguished scientists from working in the country and ultimately from sharing their expertise with British universities and industries.

Specific companies already expressing severe frustration include GlaxoSmithKline, International Business Machines, Deutsche Bank and J.P. Morgan Chase, amongst others. Mark Elborne, General Electric’s national executive for North Europe spoke out against the cap recently and revealed that he was unable to hire a stem cell research executive from India as well as gas turbine engineers from outside the European Union because of the government ban.

One of the City’s biggest law firms has also spoken out, saying the firm has been set a cap lower than the number of people it needs to hire from outside Europe. A representative said that hiring employees from Japan and the US is absolutely crucial if the firm is to maintain it’s global competitive advantage.

In order to ascertain just how serious the problem is, The Professional and Business Services Group is compiling a list of examples of UK firms adversely affected by the cap. This advisory body represents the UK’s professional services sector, which includes accountancy, legal services, construction services and human resources.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has also warned the government that the immigration cap was preventing businesses from recruiting the best international talent.

Scottish Education says government is failing

Scotland Education Secretary Michael Russell, along with leading university principals have written a joint letter to Minister Damian Green claiming that the UK student visa rules changes are a move in the wrong direction and will be damaging to education in Scotland.

The letter acknowledges the government’s need to “crack down” on bogus students, but argues that an overwhelming majority of students are genuine and that the extreme measures anticipated will unfairly impact these students, the universities in question and Scottish education in general.

Universities and lecturers in Scotland are also strongly opposed to tighter controls over the influx of skilled international workers, arguing that university research will suffer enormously.

Scientists are mad

Research is also one of the major concerns for the scientific fraternity, with eight Nobel Laureates – including two Russian migrants who are the most recent recipients of the Nobel Prize for Physics – speaking up against the coalition government’s immigration cap plans.

The feeling is that the stricter controls would discourage talented students and distinguished scientists from working in the country and ultimately from sharing their expertise with British universities and industries.

The eight scientists called on the coalition government to make allowances for distinguished members of the science and industry fraternity, just as they have made allowances for top athletes wanting to reside and for instance play football in Britain.

President-elect of the Royal Society, Sir Paul Nurse was quoted as having said: “The proposed quotas are already damaging research in the UK. What sort of policy allows footballers in, but not scientists who can stimulate growth? It is pure madness.”

Have your say

It remains to be seen whether the new government will heed the advice and listen to the concerns being expressed in the months leading up to the introduction of the permanent cap.

In the meantime, express your views by commenting on this article or write to the immigration minister or local MP.

Facebook group opposing the new immigration laws are also emerging, demonstrating the growing public concern. Join these here:!/group.php?gid=33493290212

To find out more about any UK Visa matters, speak to a qualified 1st Contact visa consultant on 080 8141 1644 (UK Office) 0800 003 163 (SA Office) or 1800 039 300 (AUS Office). Alternatively send an email to

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  • disappointed student

    Although the university I was accepted into was in England and not Scotland, I am one of the international students affected by the new student visa rules. Despite being a US citizen and having worked and studied in the UK before, my visa was not processed in time for me to register for my masters course. I paid 50% more fees to expedite it and while other applications submitted by the same agency were processed in 48 hours, mine was still not processed in 21 working days. I have been forced to withdraw from the university and my tuition fees are being refunded. I will most likely not re-apply as I have lost the $700 I have paid to process my visa and am not sure I would go through the proces again. It is extremely disappointing and discouraging. It’s also very sad for the university in light of the recent budget proposals to education in the UK. I sincerely hope improvements to the immigration system are made soon because the UK is losing valuable talent fast.

  • Jack

    David Cameron’s policies are immature and partly motivated by BNP policies. Its good his government is trying to gain popularity by potraying its interests lies for British people, however his thinking is regressive in present times. World business is globalised and Britain can recover from recession only if UK shares and trades businesses and people around the globle. These barricades will only isolate Britain in business world. His leadership similarities can be drawn with Iranian or Korean leadership. These policies are simply violates human rights as they are without parliament approval. Torries simple dont know good governance.

  • http://YAHOO NEAL SHAH

    I think that the immigration cap is a very positive step forward for this country as a whole. The uk is far too overcrowded, expecially london, which creates a general disharmony.

    I’m of ethnic backround, but was born and raised in this country and overpopulation isn’t a very good idea.

    Multicultralism doesn’t work and england really should belong to white english people. Has the government asked the people how they feel inside regarding this sensitive issue?

    There is more in life than just being too competitive and money obsessed, what about peace and harmony?? There is a lot less due to mass immigration.