The UK government plans to ease visa access in response to labour shortages caused partly by post-Brexit immigration rules. This article discusses the shortage occupation list and the impact of labour shortages on British companies.
UK Government Plans to Ease Visa Policy Amid Labour Shortages
In response to labour shortages partly caused by its stricter immigration rules post-Brexit, the UK government is planning to ease visa access. According to recent data from the Office for National Statistics, the UK currently has around one million unfilled jobs, with numbers pushed higher by Britons leaving the labour market due to long-term illness or early retirement.
Points-Based Immigration Model
The UK government adopted a points-based immigration model following its departure from the European Union in January 2021. A government spokesperson stated that they are working to ensure that the points-based system delivers for the UK and prioritises the necessary skills and talent to encourage investment in the domestic workforce.
Shortage Occupation List
The shortage occupation list is being reviewed to relax visa access for professions in short supply. The UK hospitality, road haulage, and agriculture sectors have been particularly affected by European labour shortages due to Brexit and Covid fallout.
Calls for Eased Visa Policy
For a long time, many British companies have been calling for the government to ease its visa policy. The ONS published survey data showing that over a quarter of UK businesses with ten or more employees were experiencing labour shortages in late February, similar to late January.
Increased Pressure on Businesses
Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown, says that many businesses may have no choice but to increase wages to attract and retain staff. However, this is adding more pressure at a time when higher energy costs and rising prices of goods are already causing headaches.
Government and Bank of England Urging Restraint
The UK government and the Bank of England have warned employers to show restraint, as big pay hikes could jeopardise attempts to control inflation. Despite this, strikes have increased in Britain in recent months as workers protest over salaries failing to keep pace with decades-high consumer price inflation, worsening the cost-of-living crisis.
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