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CaSE cross-sector letter to the Prime Minister on revising current immigration restrictions

08 Mar 2018

CaSE has today published a cross-sector letter sent to the Prime Minister, calling on the government to take urgent action in revising current immigration policy to better attract international research and innovation talent.

Dear Prime Minister,

Training and attracting talented people is critical to the success of the Government’s Industrial Strategy and to the UK’s productivity. Currently two thirds of roles on the Shortage Occupation List are in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine, demonstrating the Government’s recognition of demand in these areas. Alongside nationwide efforts to develop our domestic skills base, it will always be desirable to attract talent from abroad.

Productivity will suffer if firms cannot access the talent they need. Due to the cap on Tier 2 (General) visas being reached in each of the last three months, hundreds of business-critical roles across the economy are going unfilled. Employers need a predictable immigration system. The implementation of the cap on Tier 2 visas undermines business confidence and could damage productivity.

Research and innovation is a global endeavour and Government statements have been clear on the intention to be an open international partner and a magnet for scientists and innovators from across the globe. However, the repeated rejection of skilled workers due to the Tier 2 cap being reached is already damaging the UK’s international appeal.

Urgent action is needed by Government to resolve the tension between the current mode of operation of the Tier 2 (General) cap and the aims of the Government’s Industrial Strategy. There is support for such a change from the public, from business, charities and professional bodies. Polling has consistently shown that the public is overwhelming in its support for continued immigration of skilled workers, including engineers and other roles being affected by the Tier 2 cap.

We urge the Government to take this opportunity to revise the current policy and exempt roles on the Shortage Occupation List and PhD level roles from the Tier 2 cap. This would be in line with the priority already afforded to these roles and would relieve pressure on the operation of the cap, allowing other business-critical roles to be given due consideration. This change would enhance prospects for raising productivity, would support the Industrial Strategy and would be widely welcomed.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Sarah Main
Executive Director 
Campaign for Science and Engineering

This letter is supported by the following 47 organisations:

Arthritis Research UKLondon First
Association of Medical Research CharitiesLondon Metropolitan University
Babraham InstituteLoughborough University
BASFMicrobiology Society
Biochemical SocietyProspect
BioIndustry AssociationRoyal Astronomical Society
British Chambers of CommerceRoyal Society of Biology
British Heart FoundationRoyal Society of Chemistry
British Pharmcological SocietyRoyal Society of Edinburgh
British Printing Industries FederationSociety for Applied Microbiology
British Society for ImmunologyThe Association for United Kingdom Interactive Entertainment
Cancer Research UKThe Entrepreneurs Network
Canterbury Christ Church UniversityThe Geological Society
Council of Professors and Heads of ComputingThe Learned Society of Wales
EEFThe Manufacturing Technologies Association
Food and Drink FederationThe Physiological Society
Institute of AcousticsUK Deans of Science
Institute of DirectorsUlster University
Institute of Mathematics and its ApplicationsUniversity College London
Institute of PhysicsUniversity of Aberdeen
Institute of Physics and Engineering in MedicineUniversity of Kent
Institution of Environmental SciencesWellcome Trust Sanger Institute 
Institution of Mechanical EngineersZoological Society of London
John Innes Centre