The BBC is reporting this morning that the government intends to cap the number of skilled migrant workers coming to this country next year from outside the European Economic Area at 43,000.
This represents a fall of approximately 13% over the number entering the UK this year. The BBC also also reports that the cap will apply to intra-company transfers unless the employee concerned earns more than £40,000 per annum.
This follows hard on the heels of the interim cap introduced on 19 July. This reduced the number of skilled migrants allowed into the UK between July 2010 - March 2011 by 5% over the previous year.
The interim cap caused consternation for many employers who saw the unilateral removal of their ability to import skilled workers notwithstanding the trouble and expense they'd been encouraged to go to by the previous administration.
Intra-company transfers are exempt from the interim cap so we may now be seeing the first moves to stop global skill transfers in the UK.
If the BBC report is correct it dashes the faint hopes of some in the business community that the government was thinking of relaxing its stance on skilled migrants in order to help economic recovery.
So why are skilled migrants being targeted? It's really quite simple. In this country we take our European obligations seriously so our doors are wide open to workers from the EEA. The government daren't reduce the huge numbers of foreign students entering the country because of the valuable revenue they bring to hard pressed educational institutions and family migrants surf in on the crest of the Human Rights wave.
The law and politics are a potent mix and we haven't heard the last of this.
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