The government’s decision to maintain the current Tier 2 visa annual cap for the next two years has been praised by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
The organisation said that the decision to retain the current annual limit for non-EU workers and to lower a key salary requirement will help employers recruit key skilled workers and increase the chances of export-led growth.
CIPD’s evidence has consistently shown that some employers still need non-EU workers to fill highly skilled positions – such as senior engineering and IT roles – with experienced people, despite the current poor state of the UK jobs market.
CIPD’s research also shows that employers hire non-EU workers for the knowledge they bring of their home market, which an increasing number of firms are turning towards to help drive growth.
The move to freeze skilled migrant cap for two years comes at a time when the post-study worker route, which allows employers to recruit foreign students studying in the UK, is due to be closed.
This will effectively cut the number of visas available to non-EU workers by 25%.
CIPD employers say that they are more likely to hire these same foreign students via other routes of the points-based system than hire more UK workers or graduates.
Gerwyn Davies, CIPD Public Policy Adviser, said that many employers will respond to the latest news “with a large sigh of relief”.
He observed that “frequent changes to immigration policy, that have often been made with little notice or publicity, and a growing number of restrictions have caused some concern and frustration among some employers in their attempt to build a productive and growth-driven workplace.”
The latest announcement, Mr. Davies said, “offers a very robust response to earlier calls from the CIPD for greater stability, simplicity and signposting from the points-based system. Employers require certainty and access to talent to help drive growth within their organisations.” He added that the latest announcement delivers on both counts.