Thousands of highly-skilled migrants on way in Javid shake-up
SAJID Javid is planning a major relaxation of immigration laws that would allow thousands more highly- skilled migrants to enter the UK before Brexit, it was reported last night.
Employers will be able to recruit an extra 8,000 skilled migrants a year, including IT experts, engineers and teachers, effectively raising the cap by 40 per cent.
The Home Secretary is expected to announce tomorrow that doctors and nurses from outside the EU will be exempt from the ‘tier 2’ visa cap to help the NHS fill staff shortages, while businesses will be given a higher allocation, according to The Daily Telegraph. The move marks Mr Javid’s first major intervention on migration policy.
It represents a significant softening of the Government’s position on non-EU migration since Theresa May became Home Secretary in 2010.
Mr Javid is believed to favour a vision of Britain as a global country, open to business from beyond the EU after Brexit.
It is understood that Mrs May was persuaded to support a ‘time-limited’ exemption for doctors and nurses after Cabinet ministers wrote to her backing Mr Javid’s plan.
Mr Javid is also expected to launch the first review in five years of the professions that could qualify for visas, meaning that GPs, teachers and other skilled migrants could gain the right to enter the UK under tier 2 visas. The concession is likely to increase the pressure on the Prime Minister to abandon her target of reducing net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’ and to remove students from official figures. Mrs May has consistently stated that the goal of Brexit is limit migration and has resisted calls to soften her position.
Leading Brexiteers, including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, have argued that the Brexit vote was about taking ‘control’ of who should be granted entry the UK, rather than simply slashing numbers.
Ministers are yet to begin detailed discussions on postBrexit immigration strategies, but there is a growing suspicion that it is unlikely to be as strict as first thought.
Former Chancellor George Osborne, an ally of Mr Javid when in Government, claimed last year that the entirety of Mrs May’s Cabinet was opposed to her net migration target.
But a Government source told The Daily Telegraph that reform is part of a ‘long-term’ plan for the NHS. In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Javid is understood to have warned that an increase in the number of doctors recruited from outside the EU has meant the cap for all skilled workers – which is set at 20,700 people a year – has been breached in every month since December.
It is believed the Home Secretary stressed the new policy did not alter his ‘position on net migration’. He said the aim of Government policy should be to train more British doctors.
It is believed Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, Greg Clark, the Business Secretary and Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary have written to the Prime Minister in support of Mr Javid.
‘Train more British doctors’