UK work permits for Spanish on the rise

20 Sep 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The number of UK work permits allocated to Spanish immigrants appears to have risen dramatically over the past year.

According to the latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions, the number of Spanish arrivals registering for Social Security in Britain rose by 85 per cent in the year to April 2011. In fact, there were around 24,370 Spanish immigrants in the UK labour market during this time, excluding those studying in this country or working on a temporary basis.

The rise in Spanish immigrants could well have been driven by the dire economic situation in Spain, where unemployment rates have been hovering around 20 per cent for some time now.

These latest figures see Spain rise to be the country with the largest growth in the number of emigrants to the UK. This is the first time that the Mediteranean country has ranked within the top five countries for immigrants in the UK after Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Lithuania and Ireland.

Politicians have repeatedly stated that the annual cap of 20,700 on Tier 2 work permits has been designed to boost the number of jobs going to British people, forcing workers from this country to improve their skill levels. The coalition enforced the permanent changes earlier this year along with tight restrictions on the positions that can be filled by people from outside the UK and the European Economic Area (EEA).

However, the high number of immigrants from within the EEA, something which is outside of Britain's control, calls into question the thinking behind government's UK work permit caps as Spanish working migrants alone exceed the annual cap