UK work permit cap 'flawed'

25 Jul 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The cap on the number of Tier 1 UK work permits has been described as flawed.

Speaking to The Engineer, Imran Khan, director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering, explained that the flaw is "obvious", asking: "Why should the UK have a limit on the number of 'exceptionally talented' people we can welcome?"

He added: "If we're to be one of the best places in the world for research, we need to attract as much 'exceptional talent' as we can – it's not rocket science."

The comments follow the announcement that the Tier 1 work permit route will open on August 9th. A total of 500 places will be available between this date and November 30th, with a further 500 on offer between December and March, when the cap will be reviewed.

However, each of the places are to be split between the arts and the sciences. Mr Khan's comments came in light of the fact that the Royal Academy of Engineering will only be able to nominate up to 200 people.

Meanwhile, Paul Davies, head of policy at the Institute of Engineering and Technology, told the news source that a recent survey found that just 19 per cent of companies in the sector were concerned about the Tier 1 UK work permit cap. Of those that were worried, it appeared their anxiety was focused on existing employees and any possible restrictions that could affect them, rather than a possible shortage of new talent.

The cap does not take into account the Intra Company Transfer UK visa route, which enables companies to move employees within their organisation between countries.