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EU Migration falls as UK businesses fear skills shortage

For the first time since 2013, annual EU net migration fell below 100,000 according to the Office for National Statistics. The figures added to the growing evidence that the evermore decreasing rate of migration from Europe is putting a strain on employers looking for skilled workers in the UK.

“With vacancies at an all-time high and unemployment at a historic low, companied are scrambling for a shrinking pool of talent,” according to Tej Parikh, senior economist at the Institute of Directors. Neil Carberry, managing director for people and infrastructure at the CBI, the employer’s organisation says “these figures confirmed what businesses up and down the country were telling his organisation.”

In addition to the falling rate of migration, employers have also been struggling to recruit workers due to the cap on the monthly numbers of “Tier 2” visas granted to skilled migrants from outside the EU. These latest immigration figures show another big drop in the numbers arriving in the UK and this collapse in EU arrivals in particular is being hard felt in the NHS where hospitals are also seeing thousands of workers from Europe quit the National Health Service.

Figures released on Wednesday showed there are over 100,000 job vacancies across the NHS, 9,500 of which are doctor vacancies. Several medical recruitment firms and NHS employers described the UK visa system as inefficient which is seeing medical staff turned away from the UK due to restrictions set out by the Home Office.

The Home Office responded by telling the Business Insider that the restrictions “when demand exceeds the month’s allocation of Tier 2 visas, priority is given to applicants filling a shortage or PhD-level occupations”. Previously, those applying for visas earning below £30,000 would be refused by the Home Office which is now being applied to those hired for advertised salaries £46,000 and lower. This hugely affects the NHS, which relies on thousands of low earning workers particularly badly.

Britain hit its cap on visas for an unprecedented third month in a row, and migration experts expect that among the first group to be turned away will be doctors, other healthcare workers, software developers and scientists.

However, it does not seem to end at just professionals in IT and medicine. Gabriel Jesus, Brazilian star currently playing for top flight premier league team Manchester City has also had problems with the UK Immigration system. The South American is currently a few weeks away from returning to first team action but in his rehabilitation has been left without his close ones in Manchester. His brother and two close friends have been denied entry into the country by UK immigration. Apparently, they had overstayed on a previous stay here in the UK.

For individuals or organisations struggling to come to terms with the migration for skilled workers or if your company wishes to learn more about recruiting from overseas Optimus Law can provide specialist advice and assistance. As a leading immigration practice we can guide your company through every step of the Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence and Occupation List procedure to ensure your chances of success are maximised.

Contact Optimus Law if you wish to discuss your immigration matter on 0121 516 0288 or email

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