UK visa cuts 'concerning' for technology sector

28 Mar 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas


The reduction in UK visas available for students and graduates is a problem for the technology sector and engineering in particular.

Entrepreneur and inventor James Dyson, who developed the vacuum cleaners of the same name, told BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend that he is "extremely concerned" about the fact that England is "under-producing the number of engineers it needs by 50 per cent".

Mr Dyson elaborated, explaining that there are 37,000 vacancies a year but only 20,000 engineering graduates.

The comments come just days ahead of the changes to the UK visa system, which are due to be implemented April 6th.

The coalition government has confirmed that significant changes will be made to the student route, preventing students from remaining in the country after their course of study unless they can find employment paying over £20,000.

James Dyson added that it is "sheer madness" that the country is "effectively chucking out graduates who we desperately need".

"I am afraid what it will end up doing is driving firms like [Dyson] abroad because we simply can't get people to do our R&D," he remarked.

In addition to the closure of the Post Study Work route, which allowed students two years to seek employment after their course ended, the government will increase the minimum English language standards for foreign students seeking UK visas.

Institutions themselves will also be subject to change, with those wanting to sponsor students required to be classed as Highly Trusted Sponsors and accredited by statutory education inspection bodies by the end of 2012.

Mr Dyson concluded: "I don't know about people who read English and that sort of thing, but when it comes to engineering and technology, give them visas and keep them here."