Squire Patton Boggs’ UK Business Immigration Team has joined forces with EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation to respond to a call for evidence from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration (APPG) in relation to its current enquiry into the closure of the Tier 1 Post Study Work (PSW) route for international students. The PSW route, which closed to new applicants on 5 April 2012, offered a two year visa to non-EEA graduates from UK universities allowing them time to look for, and gain valuable work experience in the UK, without the need to find an employer willing to sponsor them under Tier 2 until the end of that period. The closure is said to be a direct result of the Government’s pledge to reduce net migration to ‘tens of thousands’ by the next general election.
Now that it has been more than two years since the PSW category closed, there are very few non-EEA graduates still holding valid PSW visas in the UK workforce; they too will soon need to either switch to a different immigration category such as Tier 2 (General) or leave the UK. In the meantime, reports continue to suggest that employers are struggling to find staff with the right skills, particularly in engineering, science and technology. This has immediate and longer term negative implications for the UK economy.
Working with EEF in our response to the APPG’s call for evidence on the closure of the PSW route, we would like the views of as many businesses as possible, covering the widest possible range of sectors. To do this we have launched a quick, anonymous survey and we would very much like to hear from you, particularly in relation to the following:
- Have you recruited a non-EEA national in the past 3 years?
- Have you ever recruited a PSW visa holder?
- Do you want the Government to reinstate the PSW visa category?
We should be grateful if you could complete the survey by close of business on 31 August 2014. All responses will be anonymous and used to inform Squire Patton Boggs/EEF’s response to the APPG call for evidence on this subject.