UK business leaders have launched a scathing attack on Migration Watch UK – a self-proclaimed, independent, non-political think tank, which campaigns for tighter UK immigration rules – after the organisation claimed that the Tier 2 visa system and Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence scheme had a ‘negligible effect on the ability of companies to recruit skilled workers from non-EU nations.
The anti-immigration Migration Watch, which is chaired by the controversial Lord Green of Deddington, a former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, recently released a new report that stated that the Tier 2 visa system has had ‘virtually no impact’ on the ability of companies to hire skilled workers from nations outside the European Union.’
According to the report, the annual limit of 20,700 workers, which does not include skills on the shortage occupation list, had not been exceeded between 2010 – when the Tier 2 visa system was first implemented – and 2014-15.
Additionally, the report states that even when the cap was breached in 2015-16, when 22,037 Tier 2 Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) were issued, 2,800 of them were returned unused or unclaimed
Migration Watch UK criticised businesses in Britain for ‘crying wolf’ over the impact of restrictions applied to Tier 2 visas – a system that is constantly being subjected to tighter rules, as well as increased UK Visa costs imposed on employers and overseas workers. Next month an annual £1,000 immigration skills charge will be implemented making it even more expensive for employers to use Tier 2 visas.
“The Tier 2 visa system is a prime example of how UK immigration policies are not fit for purpose. The current system for non-EU migrants is determined by 13 separate acts of Parliament, as well as 10,000 pages of guidance relating to 1,400 categories of immigrants. Employers must answer over 100 questions about a prospective employee when applying for a visa on their behalf, and applications are typically 85 pages in length,
“Home Office officials must then consult 1,300 pages of instructions before deciding if a visa will be issued, so employers are often left waiting for months to hear whether an application has been granted. If Migration Watch thinks this is a good system, clearly they know little about the realities of running a business,”