The number of workers from outside the EU/EEA will be limited to 24,100 between now and April 2011 which represents a 5% reduction in the number of migrant workers. The temporary cap does not represent a significant reduction in current numbers. The intention with the temporary cap is to prevent a rush of applicants before the April 2011 permanent immigration cap.
The immigration cap has been criticised by the Labour Party and by many in the Conservative Party. The Liberal Democrat Party Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg actually campaigned against the immigration cap during the General Election. However, as part of the agreement between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to form a Coalition Government it was agreed that there would be an immigration cap.
Organisations that have criticised the immigration cap include the following:
- The Bangladesh Caterers' Association which represents 12,000 restaurants in the UK say that the cap will make it difficult to recruit skilled chefs from outside the EU. The Indian and Bangladeshi restaurant industry is a £30bn industry in the UK.
- The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the main organisation representing the £27bn recruitment industry is concerned that the cap will lead to skills shortages.
- Tim Finch of the Institute of Public Policy Research has said "Do we really want to have restrictions on foreign students at a time when the higher education sector is facing funding cuts and is going to rely on the fees that those students bring in?"
The British Prime Minister David Cameron who is also the leader of the Conservative Party said during the election campaign that he wants immigration to be reduced from the hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands. The Tier 2 visa scheme is likely to be affected by the immigration cap as this is the main method that employers use to bring in skilled workers. The visa cap is likely to have a detrimental affect on the UK economy; If you wish to work in the UK it is probably advisable to apply sooner rather than later. According to latest reports you have until 19 July 2010 to avoid the immigration cap.