Home Office Expects to Double Foreign Worker Visas in Five Years

United Kingdom
#workvisa #skilledworkers

Recent estimates by the Home Office about the number of visas for foreign workers are noteworthy. These visas are predicted to double in number over the next five years, providing chances for foreign nationals with the necessary skills to take on important positions in a variety of industries, including social care.

Rising Demand for Foreign Worker Visas

The Home Office predicts a sharp increase in the number of visas issued for foreign workers. The numbers suggest that the number of "in-country" visas for qualified foreign workers will rise from 204,000 in 2023–2024 to 584,000 in 2028–2029. 

This forecast is not just for people who are already in the UK. In 2028–2029, 200,000 more skilled worker visas will be granted to foreign nationals, matching the figures from 2023–2024. This corresponds to a rise in foreign skilled workers from 409,000 to 784,000 per year on average.

The serious problem of labour shortages in important businesses like social care is addressed in this projection. The Home Office wants to bring in more foreign talent to fill the skills gap caused by the growing demand for qualified workers. 

Nonetheless, this information has sparked discussions among Conservative lawmakers who are worried about the rapidly increasing net migration rate, which doubled before Brexit and hit a record high of 606,000 last year.

Proposed Measures to Control Migration

The Home Office ministers, Robert Jenrick and Suella Braverman are advocating for policies that would limit net migration in reaction to these forecasts. Raising the pay barrier for foreign skilled workers from the existing 26,200 GBP to around 34,500 GBP is one such idea. 

A rush of people with the UK flag in the middle - Home Office Expects to Double Foreign Worker Visas

The goal of this salary increase is to deter immigrants from taking lower-paying positions and to motivate companies to invest in developing local talent. Additionally, there are plans to restrict the 120,000 foreign care workers who are now employed annually and impose additional limitations on immigrants who bring their families to the UK.

These actions aim to allay the worries of certain Members of Parliament about increasing net migration, but they also cast doubt on the efficiency and equity of the visa process. 

According to Tory MP Miriam Cates, "There is little reason for employers to train up British young people or invest in technology when work visas are being handed out like sweets." Cates highlights the need to fix loopholes in the visa system and encourage investment in improving the domestic workforce.

Possible Factors Behind Visa Increase

The spike in "in-country" skilled worker visas is not explained in detail in the Home Office paper that contains these estimates. Immigration experts speculate that this rise may be due to record numbers of international students converting from study to work visas upon graduation, as well as visa renewals and other foreign nationals choosing the job option.

The chairman of Migration Watch, Alp Mehmet, outlines the possible fallout from the unchecked increase in visas for foreign workers. He said that this was bound to happen as we had warned in the event that restrictions, lower earnings thresholds, and the light control introduced with the points-based system were not implemented. Additionally, it will be a kick in the teeth for British workers, since businesses will still refrain from providing them with training.

The Home Office has made it clear that these estimates are not official forecasts, but rather are based on historical trends. Through the points-based system, they pledge to maintain a balance between bolstering the UK economy and protecting resident workers.


Why does the Home Office expect the number of visas for foreign workers to rise?

These estimates seek to fulfil the rising demand for qualified people as well as alleviate labour shortages in important industries like social care. According to the Home Office, this inflow of foreign talent will aid in filling important job openings.

What is the Home Office's commitment to net migration, and is their projection an official forecast?

The Home Office has made it clear that these estimates are not official forecasts, but rather are based on historical trends. Through the points-based system, the government is committed to protecting resident workers while also bolstering the UK economy.


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