UK’s largest business organisations call for a visa overhaul

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Update on UK visa processing times for students planning to study abroad

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), two of UK’s largest business organisations, have called for changes in the visa eligibility process to tackle skill shortage.

The organisations have asked the government to add more skills to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), which would make it easier for immigrants with certain skills to be granted priority visas.

The call has come when the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published data showing a slight decline in the number of vacancies in the UK. As per ONS data, the number of vacancies has dropped by 19,800 between May and July.

However, the total still stands at 1.27 million, close to a million higher than it was at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Relocate Global, a Matthew Percival, the director of employment at CBI has said that filling roles is a ‘primary concern’ for employers.

At the same time, Jane Gratton, the BCC’s head of people policy has termed the tight labour market as a ‘ticking timebomb for firms’.

Jane also pointed out that an increase of 160,000 in the number of employed people between April and June has failed to impact the fact that the number of vacancies remains one of the highest on record.

Samuel Tombs, the chef economics for Uk at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said that “The rebound in the workforce has been driven by an increase in immigration, now that Covid no longer is influencing migration decisions and more UK businesses now have sponsor licences which mean they can lawfully employ non-UK nationals.”

The UK has recently opened priority visa services for study and work permits for applicants for India.

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