Lack of UK visas 'damaging business'

28 Feb 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The temporary UK immigration cap has posed problems for almost a fifth of employers in Britain.

A recent survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and KPMG revealed that 17 per cent of UK employers have been unable to recruit non-EU migrant workers due to the temporary UK immigration cap.

The cap is due to be replaced in April with permanent limitations on the number of people who will be allowed UK visas for employment in Britain. However, it appears that the economy and businesses are suffering from the reduction in the UK visa allowance.

Indeed, almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of employers in the UK reported that hiring workers from outside of European Economic Area has allowed them to increase their productivity, with those in the public sector more likely to report productivity improvements than their private sector counterparts. These benefits could be lost if there are insufficient UK visas for the number of employees needed.

Gerwyn Davies, public policy adviser with the CIPD and author or the report, commented: "The introduction of the temporary cap has had an impact on employers' ability to fill vacancies and improve productivity, particularly in the NHS.

"It remains questionable whether the increase in the number of employer-related visas issued by the government for the next year will be enough to address the projected increase in the demand for migrant workers."

Mr Davies added that the UK's various skills shortages should not be forgotten, explaining that some of these cannot be filled by UK workers and as such employing non-EU workers does not help unemployed people in Britain in the near-term but it could have "real and negative consequences for business and the public sector".