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doctors and nurses excluded from Tier 2 skilled workers annual cap

19 June 2018

In 2011 Theresa May as Home Secretary introduced a cap on skilled workers. The cap operated on an annual quota of 20,700, with a fixed number of spaces available each month for non-European Economic Area nationals sponsored under the Tier 2 (General) Visa. As at May 2018, this monthly quota has been exceeded for the sixth consecutive month resulting in a worrying increase in refusals for employers.

The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has announced that he will loosen immigration rules for a limited time (to be confirmed), and allow all Tier 2 visa applications from non-EEA doctors and nurses being recruited into the NHS.

The fact that these changes will be for a limited time raises the question as to whether they will only be a short term fix to the problem and it will therefore be interesting to see what the government do if the cap continues to be met.

He has also announced there will be a general review of the professions that qualify for visas, which could see a number of other skilled migrants being given the opportunity to work in the UK under Tier 2.

What does this mean for Employers?

As well as the obvious benefit to the NHS, it is envisaged that employers will be able to recruit an extra 8,000 skilled migrants a year from other highly-skilled professions, such as engineers, IT professionals and teachers.

Employers should note that these changes will only be for a limited time and noting the change will be outlined in the immigration rules laid before parliament on Friday we recommend that employers do not delay in applying for Certificates of Sponsorship, if they are intending to recruit non EEA nationals under a Tier 2 visa.

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