New regulations that require non-EU workers to leave the UK after six years if they are not earning at least £35,000 are coming under fire from a number of professions.
The Royal College of Nursing has already raised concerns that the new immigration rules will lead to the NHS facing a shortage of nursing staff at a time when it is already struggling to recruit. Now headteachers are also highlighting the potential problems that the new UK visa rules could have for the education system.
The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) said that “significant numbers” of teachers do not earn annual salaries of £35,000. It is concerned that experienced teachers will be forced to leave the UK, even though the country is currently in the midst of a teacher recruitment crisis.
NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby said: “Headteachers everywhere are struggling to recruit. Pupil numbers are rising. Budgets are being squeezed all the time.
“In the face of these challenges, it seems counterproductive to force out valued members of staff for the sake of meeting a migration target.”
The Home Office said that in subjects facing a teacher shortage, such as chemistry, physics and maths, the earnings target would not be used, so those teachers would not be deported after a six-year period.
The Home Office said that the new rules are designed to “break the link between coming to work in the UK and staying here permanently”. A spokesperson said that employers have had since 2011 to prepare for the changes.
Meanwhile, David Cameron told the BBC that the Migration Advisory Committee was advising the Government on its shortage occupation list, where there were concerns that the UK could face future skills shortages.