A Y & J Solicitors urges firms to join the talent register and beat skills shortages
A Y & J Solicitors is urging employers to register with the Home Office visa sponsor scheme, after revealing that only a small percentage of UK firms are eligible to employ skilled workers from outside the EU.
The UK is facing a shortage of talent after a nine percent decline in skilled workers applying to work here. Home office data shows shortages in a wide range of professions, from healthcare and IT to ballet dancers, pipe welders, software developers and executive chefs. Britain is also low on orchestral musicians, cyber security experts, social workers and mechanical engineers.
Despite the shortages, listed on the Home Office’s UK Shortage Occupation List, only three percent of employers are registered to sponsor foreign workers.
A Y & J Solicitors believes that a range of factors have combined to create the skills shortage. These include Brexit, a cumbersome visa system and a hike in the price of skilled worker visas. Last year, a surcharge on health workers coming to the UK from outside Europe was doubled.
Figures released this week show that the number of Tier 2 skilled worker visa applications has dropped by 10% since the Brexit vote. In 2018-19, there were 4,000 fewer applications made by non-EU nationals for skilled worker visas compared with 2015-16.
As the Government begins its new Global Talent Visa system, A Y & J Solicitors reveal that only 30,000 British firms are registered on the Home Office sponsored employee scheme. This means that only around three percent of businesses employing people are eligible to take on foreign workers from outside the EU. Only registered companies can employ foreign workers and overseas candidates who qualify to work in the UK under shortage occupation rules can only get visas if they have a job offer with a registered company.
Other shortage occupations include secondary school maths, physics, science, computer science and Mandarin teachers, vets, psychologists, biochemists and all medical practitioners. The technology sector has been most affected by the decline in visa applications with a 17% drop, from 23,700 in 2015-16 to 19,700 in 2018-19.
Yash Dubal, CEO of A Y & J Solicitors, which helps over 400 applicants apply for work visas each year, said: “British businesses are facing personnel shortages. The problem can be addressed by hiring from abroad, where there is a huge and skilled international workforce to pick from. However, only a tiny percentage of British firms are registered to sponsor foreign workers.”
At the end of March 2019, there were 4,202,044 companies on the register of British companies. Of these two million are actively trading limited companies and around 990,000 are employers. Just over three percent of these are registered to employ overseas workers.
Mr Dubal believes that businesses and employees are put off by a system that is seen as unfair and confusing. He also says fees attached to visas put potential employers off applying for sponsor status.
“The number of sponsors is a tiny percentage of the overall business community. The Home Office does not make it easy for firms and there seems to be a policy of discouragement,” he explains. “There is also a charge of between £300 and £1000 per year to be a registered sponsor with a £400 a year health sponsor surcharge. These people are coming to the UK where they fill shortage positions, look after the elderly and the sick and pay tax. Some see it as a form of discrimination.”
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