A government white paper released in December 2019 suggests that the cap currently restricting tier 2 work permit applications may be lifted. The whitepaper responds to recommendations made by UK immigration consultants surrounding the new rules that should be in place after the UK leaves the EU.
Alongside the suggestion that the cap should be lifted on the current route for the tier 2 work permit, the whitepaper also indicates that the government should make it easier for companies to sponsor UK work permit applications from overseas.
These plans come from recommendations made by the Migration Advisory Committee (otherwise known as MAC), which the report claims that the government will accept, leading to an increase in the number of IT workers entering the UK when Brexit begins to affect UK visas.
Home secretary Sajid Javid wrote in the foreword of the new whitepaper, suggesting that any new immigration systems put into place after Brexit will need to focus on what individuals can contribute to the country, rather than looking at where that person is coming from when they apply for British Naturalisation. Javid believes that the new system will focus on bringing the skills that are most needed back into the UK.
Currently, the tier 2 work permit scheme ensures that the UK can access the technology talent needed from outside of the country. However, concerns have been raised about issues with Immigration UK routes and the growing skills gap in the sector that is set to worsen after Brexit. Some EU workers have already begun to leave the UK following the Brexit vote.
Recent reports suggest that the decision to remove the tier 2 work permit cap comes from the fact that the limit was reached more quickly than usual in 2018, which led to more people being refused their skilled working visas. This isn't the first time that requests have been made to lift the cap on UK visas for skilled workers. Previously, the government made doctors and nurses working for the NHS exempt from the cap to make room for employees with other talents.