Cap on visas means acute IT jobs skills shortage is worse
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Healthcare or some new software – you choose…

Healthcare or some new software – you choose…

Posted on 17th April 2018

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You can tell that the IT skills shortage is getting serious when there are articles in The Times about it. Given that this is a subject we have written about extensively (and our CEO has a lengthy article entitled “Migration Frustration” published on digit fyi this week), it’s interesting that “the Thunderer” has taken up the case, under an article headed “Visa cap is creating UK skills crisis say technology chiefs.”

It’s hard – no, it’s impossible – to disagree with what’s said. The fact that the monthly cap on visa numbers for skilled entrants from outside the EU has been reached for four months in a row since December last year – it had only been exceeded once previously since its introduction in 2011 - shows how much demand is rising.  To make matters worse, the cap covers both techies and doctors (and other areas too) and we now have a situation where the choice, literally, is between highly skilled techies and the people who can save your life.  The fact that over one third of the allocation under the cap goes to the medical profession means that the numbers for techies is reduced. It’s Judgement of Solomon time for the Home Office, whose track record has not been great recently.

We also have to say that it’s not just a question of letting anyone and everyone in. Moreover, bringing in skilled people from overseas, whether doctors or software engineers, is only shutting the stable door: we really need to invest at the other end of the career cycle and get far more youngsters training to be software engineers (and surgeons).   That said, as The Times piece makes clear, “The economic case for increasing the number of Tier 2 visas is evident. Of course, we need to nurture home-grown tech talent, but demand is outstripping supply and we need effective visa routes for world-class tech professionals to come to the UK.”  

Nikola Kelly, MD, Be-IT

Posted in Opinion, Recruitment News

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