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Public sector could suffer from UK immigration cap

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A new survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) finds that many employers in the UK public sector are having a difficult time filling job openings due to more stringent immigration rules.

The study found that one in six employers -- a good proportion of which are in the National Health Service -- say that they have not been able to recruit workers from overseas due to the recent cap on immigration.

Immigration changes from 6 April 2011 include the following:

  • The Tier 1 (General) visa will be replaced with an 'exceptional talent' visa limited to 1,000 places per year. This visa will be almost impossible to come under even for highly skilled people.
  • A limit on Tier 2 visas of 20,700 places per year.

Employers are finding it difficult to fill vacancies in a number of sectors, including engineering, medicine, accountancy, and information technology locally from the British and EU workforce.

"Keeping out skilled non-EU workers won't help unemployed people in the UK, but could have negative consequences for business and the public sector," said CIPD advisor Gerwyn Davies.

It is forecast that there will modest growth in the UK economy in 2011. Limiting employers access to highly skilled workers from abroad could make the situation worse.