Officials tasked with issuing the new Global Talent Visas need to be more flexible or risk the UK becoming talentless, says A Y & J Solicitors.
The advice comes after it was revealed that less than half the available visas for exceptional workers were issued in 2019, leaving a potential void of talent in areas such as science and research.
A Y & J Solicitors, which helps skilled workers apply for visas to work in the UK, are urging a more flexible, coherent approach when the new GTV system is rolled out, to ensure past mistakes are not repeated.
There is no cap on the number of Global Talent Visas the Home Office can issue. They are designed to attract the world’s best scientists, researchers and technicians to the UK, post-Brexit. However, the previous scheme to attract such workers was woefully undersubscribed. In the past two years, less than 50 percent of the available Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visas were issued. Figures released by the Migration Advisory Committee show that last year only 600 were issued. Take-up for 2018 was similarly poor, with only 824 visas issued, leaving over 1,000 vacancies.
A Y & J Solicitors say that several hurdles have dissuaded people from applying for the visas and that these need to be removed to ensure the UK is seen as attractive for talented migrants. The company deals with over 400 visa applications a year and has overturned several decisions made against talented applicants.
Head of Operations Diana Todirica said: “The take-up of visas for talented workers, and the success rate for applicants, is low because the process is confusing and not user-friendly. When applications are made, they are not always screened properly, even though the applicant meets all the criteria. I have dealt with several applications that have been refused at the initial stage but overturned at review because they were not assessed properly. If the problems are not addressed when the new Global Talent visas are introduced the UK could end up talentless, rather than talented.”
The MAC report, published in January, determined that ‘the skills bar for entry is set far too high, targeted at those at the very top of their field and is too risk averse’. It recommended that Home Office officials modify or replace the current system with one that is ‘more open’ and based on best practice from other countries, without ‘repeating the mistakes of earlier UK points-based systems for those without a job offer’.
MAC suggests that the new Global Talent visas should be focused more on people with high potential, rather than those with established exceptional talent.
“No system for picking winners will be perfect and there will inevitably be some admitted on this route where promise does not deliver,” it concluded.
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