TIGA has welcomed comments made by Said Javid MP, the Home Secretary, who has pledged to take a ‘fresh look’ at current migration rules. Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, he said that he would “think more carefully” about the cap on the number of skilled workers given visas.
The annual cap of 20,700 for skilled Tier 2 visas has led to thousands of IT specialists and engineers as well as NHS staff being denied visas.
“I see the problem with that”, the Home Secretary said, admitting that “it is something that I’m taking a fresh look at.” He added that “a number of my colleagues want me to take a look at this, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.”
Tier 2 visas are important for the video games industry, which looks to recruit skilled programmers from around the world. 80 per cent of the UK video games industry’s workforce are UK citizens; 15 per cent are from the EU; and 5 per cent of industry employees are from outside the EU.
The Home Secretary also said he would like to take a look at excluding students from overall migration figures, saying it was “something I would like to look at again”.
Dr Richard Wilson OBE, Chief Executive Officer of TIGA, said:
“We welcome the Home Secretary’s comments on Tier 2 visas. TIGA has long called for reform to the current Tier 2 visa system to better help the video games industry hire staff with the skills we need.
“The video games industry depends on its programmers, designers, engineers, artists and producers to create ground-breaking games. Hiring the best and brightest talent – wherever they are from – will help our industry continue to grow and build upon its success.
“The Government is also right to take another look at the inclusion of student numbers in net migration figures. Foreign students provide local economies with a valuable boost, while the international outlook of UK universities is part of the reason why they are world renowned. The UK has the second largest share of the overseas student market, after the USA. Around 438,000 students from around the world study in the UK. UK higher education is a success story. We should reinforce this successful sector by enabling our universities to recruit more overseas students to study and to learn in the UK.”