UK visa changes 'will damage engineering sector'

15 Jun 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

 The latest round of alterations to UK visa rules will make the skills shortage in certain sectors worse than it currently is.

David Brown, chief executive of the Institution of Chemical Engineers, expressed this view following the government's proposed changes to UK work permits and visas.
UK immigration minister Damian Green announced earlier this month that Tier 2 work permits will be rebranded to clarify that there will be no automatic settlement option after a certain period of years.
Furthermore, the English language requirement will be increased for adult dependants of Tier 2 work permit migrants, while easier options for immigration to the UK will be restricted to people earning over a certain high threshold.
Changes to student UK visa rules have also been announced and are due to come into force on July 4th.
However, Mr Brown said that it could "make matters worse" for the engineering sector if it becomes "harder for employers to recruit from universities around the world".
Speaking to the Engineering and Technology Magazine, he added: "Employers are clearly saying that they need more professional engineers and engineering technicians to fill their skills gaps.
"Our own research shows that a third of employers find it hard to recruit suitable senior engineers while one in five face difficulties in recruiting suitable graduate engineers."
Although Mr Brown did concede that the government had made some positive concessions to UK business interests, including the exemption from the UK immigration cap of intra-company transfers through the Tier 2 work permit route.