The Home Affairs Committee have published their report on the UK Immigration Cap.
The report has found that the current immigration cap, which has attracted strong opposition from business, industry and the educational establishment, will only reduce net immigration by 0.9%.
Many have already stated that such a small reduction of net immigration in return for reducing the number of skilled workers that British business is able to employ does not seem a particularly favourable trade.
The report suggested that the existing framework of the Points Based System, including the Tier 1 Visa and Tier 2 Visa, allow for numbers to be limited simply by adjustment of the qualifying scores. It was pointed out that such score adjustments did not delay the most highly-skilled migrants from entering the UK, whereas the current monthly limit does create delays and rewards on a “first-come first-served” basis rather than considering merit.
The report also made clear that there had been too many instances of rules being rushed in without sufficient thought or notice being given and also without the required Parliamentary approval, leaving the Government open to successful legal action being taken (as has happened on numerous occasions over the last few years).
Responding to the Home Affairs Committee report on the immigration cap, Dr Terry John, Chairman of the BMA’s International Committee said:
“The BMA shares the Home Affairs Committee’s concerns that the immigration cap has been rushed through with insufficient attention to how it will work in practice. The Government needs to rethink its plans to introduce an annual cap on immigration to take into account the impact these changes will have of the NHS.
“The UK relies on doctors from outside the EU to fully staff the NHS. The interim cap on skilled migration has already made it more difficult for employers to secure sufficient sponsorship certificates* to meet their workforce needs. The imposition of a permanent cap is likely to make the problem worse.
“We are particularly concerned that international graduates from UK medical schools may be unable to continue training. It is estimated that around 500 international medical students graduate from UK medical schools each year. These doctors are already factored into workforce planning and it would be a huge loss to the NHS if they were not able to work in the UK. ”
There was also some criticism of the immigration cap limits being based on the levels of non-EU recruitment during a year that was in the depths of the recession, with further argument being put forward that limits should take account of the desire and need for Companies to expand.
The report can be found at the Parliament.uk website.