Constituents have been in touch recently regarding the availability of Tier 2 visas for NHS staff.
Since 2011, Tier 2, the main immigration work route for skilled non-EEA workers, has been subject to an annual cap of 20,700 places. The cap was based on advice from the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) and operates by controlling the number of places allocated to UK-based employers who are seeking to recruit a migrant worker where no suitable resident worker can be found.
As you may be aware, the limit has been oversubscribed since December 2017, and it is clear that this cap is having an impact on the health sector as well as other sectors of the economy.
It is therefore extremely welcome that, as a temporary measure, all doctors and nurses will be exempted from the Tier 2 cap. This change will mean that, from 6th July 2018, doctors and nurses will be able to be sponsored without putting pressure on the entire immigration system. This will also free up space for other highly skilled occupations such as engineers, IT professionals and teachers who make an important contribution to our economy and the prosperity of the country.
The MAC has also been commissioned independently to review the composition of the Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List. This will enable them to look at which posts across all sectors of the economy are in national shortage and should be given priority within the cap. The MAC will report by Spring 2019, as they currently have two significant commissions on EU migration and international students.