Evidence submitted by the REC to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee suggests that, without changes to the UK’s tight immigration rules, employers will struggle to source home-grown talent with required STEM skills.
An immediate implication is that Umbrella Company Employees and other independent pros from the UK’s professional contracting community will remain in high demand, as many of these skills are in core contractor disciplines.
The REC’s senior policy director, Gillian Econopouly, told the Committee that recruiters are struggling to place desperately-needed overseas candidates with the requisite qualifications and experience into the UK’s flourishing STEM industries because of recent changes to immigration rules.
As a result, firms specialising in engineering, IT and life sciences are being hampered, with the knock-on effect that new jobs for UK workers are also being stifled.
Evidence from numerous sources, including the REC’s own Report on Jobs, shows that demand is soaring for engineers, IT and computing professionals and medical and accounting staff in both permanent and temporary/contracting roles; however, the government’s hard line efforts to drive down immigration have resulted in the scrapping of vital STEM visa routes such as the Post-Study Work visa and the Highly-Skilled/Tier 1 General visa.
Ms Econopouly said: “Even where visas are granted, there are strict limits on how long skilled graduates can remain in the country. A new ‘cooling-off period’ for those who have completed a Tier 2 visa means they have to return to their home countries for at least 12 months before applying to come back to the UK – despite the fact that British companies are often desperate to hire them.”