Decrease in work-related visas for foreign workers

The number of work-related visas issued to foreign workers has dramatically decreased over the last year, according to recent data from the Government, with the skilled worker visa route seeing the largest fall.

The latest Home Office figures – which include the first quarterly statistics since freedom of movement with the EU ended on 31 December 2020 – found the overall number of work-related visas granted was down by more than a third between the years ending March 2020 and March 2021. Skilled worker visas accounted for nearly two-thirds of those granted but ever the issue of those had dropped by a third on the previous year.

According to the data, most of this fall was because of a decrease in grants of intra-company transfer (ICT) visas, which fell by almost three-quarters during the year ending March 2021.

In contrast, the number of visas granted to seasonal workers almost quadrupled to 10,659, up from 2,861 the previous year. The Home Office attributed this to the quota increase for this route, which was increased from 2,500 in 2019 to 30,000 this year. It is believed that these statistics are the result of a combination of the pandemic – which reduced demand for visas – and the end of free movement.

Businesses that rely on overseas talent, especially from the EU, should apply for a sponsor licence if they don’t currently have one as this is the most cost-effective and efficient route for hiring individuals from overseas.


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