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New migration cap

24 November 2010

Home Secretary Theresa May has unveiled details of the UK’s first permanent cap on non-EU foreign nationals entering the UK, which will prove problematic for many employers.

The number of visas granted will be cut by a fifth from April 2011. Tier 1 visas will be capped at 1,000 and will be limited to those with ‘exceptional talent’, including entrepreneurs, investors, sports stars and scientists. Tier 2 visas will rise to 20,700 (an increase of 7,000) but this will be limited to those with offers of jobs at graduate level.

It is not yet clear whether there will be any specific exemptions to this cap. In the meantime, the interim cap imposed in July 2010 (resulting in a 5% reduction in visas), will continue to apply. There may be a glimmer of hope for those employers who will need to exceed their quota between now and April 2011, as it may be possible to apply for a limited increase, albeit only in exceptional circumstances.

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