ENGINEERS, NURSES, WELDERS and even BALLET DANCERS will be the first in line for visas to work in Britain under plans being considered by the Government to plug any skills gaps post-Brexit.
Immigration policy will be tailored to the needs of employers rather than being dictated by geography after the Government quietly rejected plans for regional visas which could have given London and Scotland special entry arrangements.
A Government source said: “What is under consideration is an immigration policy whereby employers tell us where the skills shortages are and we aim to fill them.
“It will be a case of, for example, the construction industry saying: we are short of this many builders and us seeking to recruit accordingly from overseas rather than immigration on a regional basis, as is the case in countries like Australia and Canada.”
The Government’s Shortage Occupations List, which is currently used to grant Tier 2 work permits to the UK, includes health care workers, engineers and teachers and also software developers, welders, ballet dancers and geologists.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had demanded new powers over immigration after the EU referendum result while London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been lobbying for a “London visa” so that businesses in the capital can continue to hire from abroad after an anticipated end to free movement from within the EU.
In her landmark Brexit speech on Tuesday, Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed that Britain would be leaving the single market in a bid to curb EU immigration but would push for the “freest possible trade” with European countries.
Although the UK’s unemployment rate fell by 52,000 to 1.6 million last week, the lowest level for 10 years, there are sectors suffering from a dearth of home-grown workers.
A Home Office spokesman said: “Voters made it clear in the referendum that they wanted the country to take back control of immigration.
This Government will deliver on that by building an immigration system that works for everyone.