Personal Immigration

Tier 2 visas still being hit despite medical restriction

The demand for skilled workers is outstripping the number available with the latest figures revealing that the number of potential skilled foreign workers trying to obtain a visa under the Tier 2 system remains above the current UK threshold.

Figures showed that despite changes to the cap on skilled workers, which last month included the removal of doctors and nurses, there remained more applications for employer-sponsored visas for non-EEA workers in July than there were available visas to legally obtain work in the UK.

The latest figures go directly against the suggestion from the Government that the decision to remove skilled workers such as doctors and nurses from the cap would result in the number of applications levelling out, and would effectively “free up” more allocations for other job roles.

The removal of doctors and nurses from the cap on Tier 2 visas for highly-skilled workers had been welcomed, but many had suggested that it would not solve the issue. In July, thousands of more applications came in than the threshold as the UK seeks to alleviate the shortage of workers in industries such as teaching and engineering.

Prior to the exemption, which was announced in June, the Home Office claimed that 40% of all visas to the UK were allocated to NHS staff. Currently, the visa cap through the Tier 2 scheme remains at 20,7000 with allocations per month varying each week. Despite the skills shortage in the UK, the cap has been hit every single month since the end of 2017.

Despite the decision to remove potential NHS workers from the cap, a number of firms have still had bids rejected. One legal firm told the Financial Times it had an applicant accepted on a £41,000 a year salary but one on £40,000 rejected.

The number of visas available through the Tier 2 scheme is limited to 20,700 a year, with varying allocations set each month. The cap has been reached every month since December.

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