The Migration Advisory Committee is looking again at the operation of the UK’s Tier 2 skilled work visa, and there are industry concerns that the minimum salary requirement could be increased.
Currently, this route into the UK for non-EU staff allows 20,700 people to work in Britain annually. They must be paid at least £30,000 but this could be raised by a between £10,000 and £25,000 a year, according to reports.
British technology firms are worried that if such increases are imposed, it will make highly-qualified staff from areas such as a Bangalore in India and Silicon Valley in the US prohibitively expensive to employ in the UK.
Although large multinational corporations operating in the UK such as Google and Amazon are known for paying staff above average salaries, smaller start-ups could struggle with the cost of recruiting the overseas qualified staff they need.
The UK’s technology firms need to employ talented software and programming staff from non-EU countries because the sector is facing a skills shortage both in Britain and across Europe as a whole. So far, efforts by industry and the Government to address the shortage with home-grown talent have made little difference, meaning British companies still need to bring in staff from outside the EU with the right skills in order to remain competitive.