Is the UK’s confused visa system in need of reform?

Recent changes introduced in December 2020 have allowed employers to sponsor individuals who haven’t previously qualified, such as chefs. However, employers still find the system difficult to deal with as the Home Office ask for ever more data, some of it barely relevant and in some cases take 6-12 months to make a decision.

As part of the government transformation programme data sharing between departments was expected to make it easier for employers to sponsor workers from April, but there hasn’t been any evidence of this yet.

Organisations with a genuine need to recruit individuals with specialised skills need to prove that they have tried to advertise within the UK first, show information about their accounts and what the leases are on their buildings.

Temporary visa schemes introduced to address skills shortages, such as HGV drivers and poultry workers offer no guarantees or certainty for future recruitment and make it difficult to create a stable workforce. Rules for Ukrainians “do now jar with those for other populations of people, so there might be some tidying up needed”.

According to some the lack of comprehensive policy and cohesive approach to legal migration is the government’s fear that migrants are not genuine.

This explains why the onus is placed on organisations to prove they cannot find skilled labour they need in the UK.

Many propose a less bureaucratic, simpler, more relaxed approach and cheaper alternative to the current system.


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