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Thousands of skilled workers – including IT specialists and engineers – have been refused visas this year due to the British government's much-maligned immigration cap.
According to figures released today, more than 6,000 Tier 2 (General) visa applications by people who had job offers from companies in the UK were refused between December 2017 and March 2018.
Hires - Science - Tech - Sectors - Healthcare
Tier 2 is used for most hires in the science and tech sectors, as well as healthcare, but the government has capped entry through this route since 2011 at 20,700 a year.
This figure was slammed by science and tech bodies and employers as arbitrary. Until recently the cap was rarely hit but that may be changing.
Applications - Tier - General - Certificate - Sponsorship
Of all eligible applications for a Tier 2 (General) certificate of sponsorship (CoS), 36 per cent were refused in December, while some 47 per cent were refused in January and 48 per cent in February. The proportion rose to 59 per cent in March.
This amounted to a total of 6,080 applications refused – although this might not represent 6,080 people, because one of the knock-on effects of the cap is that would-be workers just re-apply in the next month, increasing overall pressure on the system.
Figures - Freedom - Information - Laws - Campaign
The figures, obtained under Freedom of Information laws by the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), which has lobbied for the abolition of the cap, show that 1,226 of the total applications rejected were in IT and technology roles, with some 429 CoS rejected in March.
This is the third highest four-month total, after professional services (1,814) and doctors (1,518). Some 392 refusals were for engineering roles, while 361 were in other healthcare profession roles.
Figures - Scale - Problem - Urgency - Solution
"These figures show the scale of the problem and the urgency to find a solution," said CaSE executive director Sarah Main.
"Across the country, businesses and public services are being blocked at the last...
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