The CIPD – the professional body for those in HR and people development – has warned UK businesses to make contingency plans for recruiting staff. The CIPD warns that UK immigration rules are going to make it increasingly difficult for companies to employ migrant workers from outside the European Union/European Economic Area.
In particular, the CIPD expects further restrictions to be applied to the Tier 2 (General) Visa and Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer visa schemes. The body says that the UK immigration Points Based System (PBS) will continue to be 'the tool to grapple with.'
The PBS was set up by UK Immigration to better control levels of immigration into the UK. According to the CIPD, the PBS has been steadily tightened in recent years. As a result, the CIPD is advising companies to be prepared for further changes.
Tier 2 Visa cap
For almost all applications for Tier 2 visas to employ overseas workers who are based outside of the UK you need to apply for what is called Tier 2 restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (COS). This comes under the numerical limit of 20,700.
To illustrate how tough recruiting overseas workers has become, the CIPD said that "you only have to go back to last year  where the cap for Restricted Tier 2 (General) Certificates of Sponsorship (set at 20,700) was reached more than once."
"Bear in mind the cap is set to stay at this level in 2016, so the cap is likely to be reached again, leaving many businesses unable to recruit staff from overseas with the essential skills they need," the CIPD added.
Besides keeping Restricted Tier 2 (General) Certificates of Sponsorship capped at 20,700, the CIPD predicts that the government could take the decision to prioritise some skills shortages at the expense of others. Furthermore, they anticipate that time limits will be imposed on certain industry sectors for keeping job roles on the shortage occupation list. You do not have to undertake a resident labour market test to show that that there is a shortage to employ people who are on the shortage occupation list. Fewer occupations on the Tier 2 shortage occupation list makes it more difficult for employers to employ overseas woekers.
Additionally, the Migration Advisory Committee [MAC] has been commissioned by the government to give their recommendations on whether Tier 2 dependents should continue to be allowed to work in the UK.
Tier 2 Visa Intra Company Transfers
The CIPD expects Tier 2 Visa Intra Company Transfers to become a focus of further restrictions too. It's likely that immigrants will have to pay a full health surcharge, and minimum salary levels could potentially rise; these are outlined in the Standard Occupational Classification-based Codes of Practice. The health surcharge is an additional fee that many immigrants need to pay. The Government says that this fee is used to help fund the NHS.
According to the CIPD, UK employers can expect to have to deal with further reporting and monitoring duties as sponsors, while being hit with 'less flexibility on variations to terms of employment for sponsored migrants, plus a requirement for sponsored migrants to be earning a minimum of £35,000 to be eligible for indefinite leave to remain in Tier 2.'
In 2015, UK Prime Minister David Cameron expressed his frustration concerning UK immigration policy, openly stating that it 'hasn't worked so far'. The CIPD said: "In 2016, employers who rely on migrant labour may conclude the same."
Workpermit.com can help with Tier 2 Visa Sponsorship Licences
If you need help with a Tier 2 sponsorship licence or you would like assistance complying with your Tier 2 sponsorship licence obligations, workpermit.com can help. Call 0344 991 9222 for further details.