Sponsor Shortfall: Are we ready for post-Brexit skill gap?
New figures show that the number of British firms applying for permission to employ migrants has remained static since the start of the year, despite Government attempts to prepare businesses for new immigration rules.
The figures released by the Home Office suggest that thousands of employers will be caught out when Britain leaves the EU on January 1 2021. From next year, all British businesses that employ migrant workers will have to be Home Office approved. Previously, under free movement principles, firms employing EU workers have not had to register.
Research by immigration specialist A Y & J Solicitors show only a tiny rise in the numbers registered to become official Home Office visa sponsors. The total figure constitutes around two percent of all British business. The lack of uptake in the sponsorship scheme suggests the vast majority of UK firms will be unable to employ skilled migrants from next year, despite the Government’s assertion that the new immigration system is designed to attract the ‘brightest and best’ from around the world.
The latest figures, released this week, show 29,514 enterprises are registered to sponsor applicants on Tier 2 visas. Tier 2 is the main immigration route for working in the UK and is for skilled workers with a job offer. Visa sponsorship is required by an employer and the visa is linked to a specific job. At the start of the year the figure stood at 28,734. House of Commons business statistics show that there are 1.4 million private sector employers in the UK, which means only 2% are in a position to employ new arrivals next year.
Immigration specialist and A Y & J Solicitor Director Yash Dubal said: “The messages encouraging businesses to apply for sponsorship to make the most of the global skills pool appears to have fallen on deaf ears. These figures show a negligible rise in percentage terms. I fear the result will either be an influx of new applications in the last months of the year, which the Home Office could struggle to process, or many businesses that will find themselves unable to employ the calibre of international worker they require because they haven’t got the correct paperwork.”