The government has defended its decision to introduce an interim limit on skilled workers from outside the EU.
Damian Green, minister for immigration said: ‘The interim limit was introduced to stop a rush of last minute applications ahead of the annual limit being introduced in April next year and the UK Border Agency has been working very closely with businesses to ensure that these arrangements have been implemented effectively.
‘There are millions of people in Britain who employers can freely recruit and I expect companies to look to fill job vacancies from the resident labour force before they look for skills outside the UK. Last year, visas were granted to almost 36,000 workers from outside the EU while we currently have hundreds of thousands of unemployed graduates in subjects such as IT and engineering.’
The CBI is one of the business organisations to have responded to the government’s consultation on the annual limit.
Damian Green added: ‘The ability of employers to fill vacancies is affected by a wide range of factors including their own training policies, pay and conditions and corporate reputation. In the vast majority of cases it is unfair to blame our limits for recruitment difficulties.
‘We have consulted with business and other interested parties on how the limit should work and have also asked the Migration Advisory Committee to consult on what the actual limit should be. These consultations are now closed and we will announce the findings in due course.’