On Wednesday, according to a data released, Indian engineers, IT professionals, doctors and teachers are among 6,080 skilled workers holding a UK job offer who were denied visas to the UK since December 2017.
The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) acquired the figures via a Freedom of Information (FOI) to the UK Home Office to highlight the “scale of the problem” being created due to the British government’s annual immigration cap for skilled professionals hired by UK-based companies from outside the European Union (EU).
“Science, engineering and technology have long benefited from the mobility of talent and collaboration across borders – including between India and the UK. The figures we’ve obtained from the Home Office show that currently, our immigration system is hampering this ambition,” said CaSE Deputy Director Naomi Weir.
“We’re calling on the government to make immediate changes so that employers can access the talent they need, and in the long term to ensure that the UK immigration system is aligned with the ambition to be open and welcoming to science, engineering and tech talent,” she said.
“The Tier 2 visa quota has been reached for the fifth month in a row, yet there are still more than 100,000 NHS posts unfilled, with vacancy rates rising. At a time when the NHS is under enormous strain and struggling to fill positions, the current visa restrictions and arbitrary caps for non-EU workers entering the UK are inexplicable and threatening patient care and safety,” he said.
“Employers know and accept that there is a need for highly skilled immigrants as do the majority of the general public. The people standing in the way are those who set random immigration limits that seem to be plucked out of the air for political purposes,” said Nobel Prize-winning Indian-origin scientist Prof Venki Ramakrishnan, the president of the UK’s Royal Society.
“The cap is beginning to cause damage and it needs to be addressed quickly. In the immediate term, shortage and PhD level roles should be made exempt from the cap. In the long term, an immigration system for a Global Britain that supports research and innovation should not feature a cap on the international specialists we want to attract,” said CaSE Executive Director Dr Sarah Main, who had written to the British Prime Minister Theresa May earlier this year on the issue.
“When demand exceeds the monthly available allocation of Tier 2 (General) places, priority is given to applicants filling a shortage or PhD-level occupations. No occupation on the Shortage Occupation List has been refused a place,” a Home Office spokesperson said.