Indians Among Over 6,000 Skilled Workers Denied UK Visa: Report

Out of the 6,080 total refusals between December 2017 and March 2018, 3,500 were for engineering, IT, technology, STEM teaching and medical roles, data from the UK Home Office showed.


The UK government has refused 6,080 applications for skilled overseas workers holding a job offer because of an arbitrary cap on visas since December 2017. This includes Indian professionals such as engineers, tech professionals, doctors and teachers, according to data obtained by the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) released on May 16.

The UK Home Office, following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by CaSE, gave details of the number of Tier 2 refusals due to the annual cap in each month between December 2017 and March 2018. A Tier 2 visa can be applied for only if a person has been offered a skilled job in the United Kingdom and if a person hails from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

The figures indicated that hundreds of critical roles across the economy are going unfilled, damaging productivity, public services, business confidence and the United Kingdom’s international reputation, the report said. Out of the 6,080 total refusals, 3,500 were for engineering, IT, technology, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teaching and medical roles.

A total of 392 scientists and engineers were refused the visa between December 2017 and March 2018, with 128 refusals in March 2018 alone, according to figures obtained by the CaSE. As many as 1,226 IT or tech professionals were refused visas in this period, with 429 refusals in March this year. The corresponding figure for medical professionals was 1,518, with 487 refusals taking place in March this year.

“These figures show the scale of the problem and the urgency to find a solution. Across the country, businesses and public services are being blocked at the last hurdle from recruiting the people they need, including in health, engineering and tech, due to the visa cap,” CaSE Executive Director Dr Sarah Main said in a statement.

Aany of these refused applications were for individuals who would perform key roles within the public sector. Over 1,500 doctors and almost 200 teachers across primary and secondary school roles were refused. “The United Kingdom has even turned away a handful of science and math teachers, positions that have been notoriously difficult to fill,” CaSE said in its report.

The Home Office has said that it is important that the immigration system works in the national interest, ensuring that employers look first to the UK resident labor market before recruiting from overseas.

CaSE, however, argues that employers are already doing that. “There is economic and anecdotal evidence that employers only engage with the Tier 2 system if they need to – it is costly and cumbersome so certainly not done in preference to UK talent,” the report added.

“These figures further highlight just how concerning it is that we are turning doctors away when the NHS is under such pressure. The Tier-2 visa quota has been reached for the fifth month in a row, yet there are still more than 100,000 NHS posts unfilled, with vacancy rates rising,” Dr Chaand Nagpaul, British Medical Association Council Chair, said in a statement.

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