UK work permit changes brings skills crunch

22 Feb 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Britain looks set to struggle with limited access to certain skill sets for a number of years due to the changes to UK work permits.

At the first general meeting of 2012, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation's Life Sciences group identified a number of problems facing the industry.

Lawrence Levy, chair of the group, explained that although the government is starting to take the issue of skills shortages among Britons seriously, there looks set to be a period of time before their efforts kick in during which businesses will be denied access to vital skills.

Mr Levy stated: “With the new restrictions on the post-work graduate visa, a major source of talent for life sciences companies will disappear.

“There will be a gap of at least five years before the benefits of current efforts to improve skills in the native population are felt, making it less attractive right now for such companies to base themselves in Britain.”

He warned that businesses may opt to locate elsewhere as a result of these changes. In fact, some recruiters are already reporting that they are required to work on a pan-European basis due to the fact that the UK does not have sufficient demand for life sciences staff. Mr Levy urged the government to see this as “a serious warning signal”.