Leading Businesses Warn Against Problems with UK Visas and Immigration Dependants

15 May 2019 | Carl Thomas

Recent proposals for changes to the UK work permit and visa rules after Brexit will affect not only the people making applications, but their families too. Unfortunately, according to some business leaders, the challenges of applying for UK visas with family members will make the UK a lot less attractive to talent from overseas. This will mean that the UK might struggle to stay ahead with its economy.

So far, the UK has historically provided generous arrangements for children and spouses accompanying migrants with a tier 2 work permit coming into Britain. Spouse visas and dependant rights have ensured that families have also automatically been able to come to the UK. However, the Home Office and UK immigration professionals are planning on implementing a much tougher regime after Brexit which undermines earlier approaches.

Currently, a 12 month visa has been proposed for lower-skilled workers applying for a UK work permit. This visa will exclude dependants and mean that professionals will not be able to bring their families with them into the country. However, a youth mobility visa has also been proposed for 18 to 30 year-olds, which will be expanded to include nationals from the EU but will not allow for family members.

A report covering the dependant rules around UK visas has said that the proposed changes after Brexit will be a significant departure from traditional practices in the country. The absence of a dependant visa in the UK may make it a lot harder for businesses from all industries to access the overseas talent they need to grow.

Employers have also raised concerns about other aspects of the policies proposed for after Brexit that were laid out in the white paper from 2018. They're concerned that the 12-month visa for low-skilled workers might become the default agreement for intermediate jobs. A lack of access to the tier 2 work permit may also mean that the UK companies of tomorrow can't find the talent that they need outside of the UK.