UK immigration cap 'could affect energy sector'

15 Feb 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The UK immigration cap could have a negative impact on areas of the energy sector, it has been suggested.

According to OilVoice, the oil and gas industry has a "crucial" need to be able to access skilled labour.

However, the number of UK work permits has been reduced by the coalition government and, from April this year, there will be an annual cap of 21,000 on Tier 1 and Tier 2 work permits.

International companies could use the Intra Company Transfer category to bring employees to the UK if they are struggling to access Tier 2 work permits.

But even this UK visa category is to have stricter conditions imposed on its applicants. Minimum salary requirements are to be increased from £20,000 to £24,000 for a stay of up to 12 months, or to a minimum of £40,000 for stays of up to five years.

The news source suggested that these restrictions could impact both the success of the sector and the wider UK economy if employers do not have sufficient flexibility to take on skilled labour from out-with the European Economic Area.

The publication went so far as to add that some observers see the UK immigration cap as "an attempt to appease the tabloid media", with the government coming under fire for prioritising cuts in net migration instead of safeguarding access to specialist skills.