Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has written to Home Secretary Theresa May warning that the restrictions on non-EU migrant workers are damaging the UK’s economic recovery. The Financial Times reports that for the first time since the introduction in 2011 of restrictions on workers from outside the EU, the 20,700 annual limit is set to be exceeded.
Last year, 6,780 visas remained unallocated and Cable has suggested that if ministers decide not to scrap the restrictions altogether, the Home Office ought to allow the allocations from previous years to be rolled over to 2014. According to official figures, in June, July and August the monthly allocation of 1,725 visas was exceeded.
In attempting to meet the Conservative Party’s target of curbing net migration by next year’s election, Ms May could be hampering businesses hiring the most suitable talent they require to fill important vacancies when the UK economy needs it most. As well as removing the cap, lowering the £153,500 salary threshold would allow more jobs to become available to talented migrants who could possess skills lacking in a number of sectors in the UK.
Skills shortages in the UK are not a new phenomenon and it is crucial to the UK’s economic prospects that the immigration legislation creates avenues for skillful migrants to contribute to growth in the UK.