There are a number of concerns with the UK Government’s apparent determination to maintain a tight grip on the inflow of skilled migrants. Muddling a vote for Brexit with a clamp down on skilled migrants is hampering the growth of the UK economy. Both public and private sector organisations have been severely disadvantaged over the past 6 months as the Home Office have been forced to favour crucial skills shortages to the utter detriment of all else.
The health of private industry and the revenue that is generated must be considered equally important to that of public sectors such as Health and Education. Well-funded public services can’t exist without a healthy national balance sheet. The current capped Tier 2 Employer Sponsor Licence mechanism ensures this conflict of interest and urgently needs to be recalibrated.
Successful enterprise demands the brightest and best to ensure the engine room of innovation and development is properly staffed. However, month after month UK based companies are missing out on explicitly documented recruitment needs and are therefore not being competitive against rivals from overseas. When the difference between a successful Brexit which requires momentum and the possible inevitable economic slowdown of trading independently is too close to call, this does not bode well for any of us. During this crucial moment in British history, we really need to fully mobilise our economy without being hung up by unjustifiable policy objectives and targets.
The Home Office continues to cap the annual Tier 2 Skilled Worker route to 20,700 per annum which remains unchanged since its introduction. This cap places an arbitrary quota before the proven needs of public and private organisations and their contribution to the UK economy. Many UK companies are considering moving to central Europe in order to benefit from the more secure and abundant skills available. This very rational Brexodus of business is unfortunately real and ready to propel the UK into an economic decline.
Maintaining access to diverse talent from around the world is essential to ensure that the UK is a great place to locate competitive businesses and invest money. This economic stimulus benefits everyone. We need a robust, diverse and multicultural workforce if Britain is to maintain an edge on an international stage. However, as the great Brexodus takes root and causes a number of issues for national employers such as the NHS, these huge organisations are becoming more dependent on the same visa mechanisms that smaller private businesses reply on.
The current system quite rightly prioritises skills shortages such as nurses but as a natural consequence the arbitrary cap cannot sustain growing innovative businesses. At the very least the Government should remove recognised skills shortage roles from the capped annual allocation system. Additionally, the Home Office might advance the quota to a meaningful number or even abolish the cap altogether since any migrant sponsorship must first pass a qualifying set of criteria. Since potential sponsors must demonstrate a skilled migrant’s ability to add value to our labour market, any refusal of a valid request might be considered absurd.
The Home Secretary might also consider applying a parallel system such that Government departments, both central and local, might have their own quota or qualifying system. Thereby, the Government might not damage Britain’s place at the top table of industrial, innovation and business at this moment of triumph or defeat. In this we might also see the activation of a Points Based System Tier 3 category?