UK work permit cap 'will not be altered'

20 Dec 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The government will not reconsider its UK work permit cap and other limits on immigration, it has been stated.

Lord Henley, the Home Office Minister, was challenged by his Lib Dem peer Lord Taverne during oral questions in the Lords yesterday (December 19th).

Lord Taverne asked whether or not the government would reconsider its limits on UK immigration and work permits in light of “their effect on competitiveness and economic growth”.

The peer's query referenced a number of statements and observations from business groups and members of the arts and sciences who have called into question the effect that limiting skilled immigration will have on the country's economy.

Lord Henley, however, appeared assured that the damage would be minimal, stating: “Our changes mean that we will continue to welcome the brightest and the best … while at the same time we are putting an end to the unlimited migration of recent years.”

Maintaining the line of enquiry, Labour peer Baroness Hollis stated that the changes to the UK visa system for students will put the country at risk of losing fees from non-European Union students, as well as the opportunity to “export their skills back to their home country”.

The coalition government has introduced a number of changes to the family immigration route, along with the student and skilled employment routes since coming into power. However, it tends to be the alterations to the skilled employment route that have received the most criticism as business leaders continue to express concern about the country's ability to access the talent it requires to return to strong economic growth.