Britain has reached its cap for UK visas for skilled, non-European workers for a record third month in a row, prompting concerns that these figures could signal the start of a long-term issue for the NHS.
According to data from the Home Office, more than a third of the UK tier 2 work permits issued by them are given to skilled staff recruited for the NHS. This news has led to many UK immigration experts suggesting that doctors and other healthcare professionals will be among the first group to be turned away.
The current cap on skilled worker UK visa numbers is based on an annual quota of 20,7000 with a set number of places available each month. According to figures, this monthly quota had only been exceeded once since the cap was introduced in 2011 until December 2017.
As a result, the normal minimum salary for a job to qualify for the UK tier 2 work permit application of £30,000 has now been raised to £55,000. In fact, all applicants earning less than £46,000 rejected in January 2018 unless they were for a PhD-level job or their role would fill a gap on the official shortage occupation list.
Commenting on these latest figures, Nichola Carter, a UK immigration specialist at Carter Thomas solicitors, said: “From the information I’m receiving it is starting to look like the threshold for rejection in February could be around the £50k mark.”
She added: “Initially it was thought that December and January were just blips. Now it’s starting to feel like this could be a long-term issue.”