According to the latest figures from the Home Office, around 4,300 fewer applications for tier 2 work permits were made by workers from outside of the EU in the year between 2018-2019. These numbers specifically apply to the private sector, highlighting a severe reduction in the number of talented new workers coming into this industry.
Businesses in the private sector are stating that the fall in non-EU applications could lead to a serious skills shortage in the years to come. This is particularly true as Brexit continues to cause applications from people within the EU to drop further at the same time. According to the BDO – a business and accounting consultancy conducting studies into the UK work permit, the tech sector is currently the most affected. The technology industry has experienced a massive 17% decline in application in recent years.
Easy access to specialists from overseas has long been one of the main drivers of growth for the thriving fintech industry in the UK. Because of this, London is widely renowned as one of the leaders in the Fintech landscape. Manufacturing also saw a significant fall in applications too, with a 14% downturn in 2018 and 2019. This meant that around 81% of manufacturers were reporting difficulties in being able to find and recruit new staff.
Although the reduction on the cap for the amount of money an employee needs to earn to enter the UK has meant that it’s likely that more skilled workers will be able to enter the country from 2021 onwards, many businesses are still concerned. The current skill shortages in the UK will continue to push business leaders around the country to request additional support from the government when it comes to finding external sources of talent from outside of England.
BDO believes that the government should be extending the UK apprenticeship system, supporting more post-study work visas for graduates in the country, and delivering extra support for those in the private sector.