Home / News / World /  UK visa overhaul soon? Liz Truss expected to liberalise immigration

Newly appointed British Prime Minister Liz Truce is mulling to launch a major review of Britain’s visa system, as the country is facing an acute labour shortages in key industries. The move has been welcomed by business leaders of the European nation.

Aiming to defy some of her anti-immigration cabinet colleagues, Truss is set to make changes to the “shortage occupation list", which would allow certain industries to bring in more staff from overseas, reported Financial Times.

According to the report, the review could also endorse a loosening of the requirement to speak English in some sectors, enabling more foreign workers into the country.

As per details, the inclusion on the Home Office list allows migrants from outside the EU simpler entry to Britain because of lower visa fees and a waiving of employers’ usual duty to prove that there is no suitable local worker for the role.

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So in longer term, the criteria to meet the £35,800 salary threshold to settle in the UK after five years may not be applicable to migrants.

Apart from this, the British PM is also set to lift the cap on foreign labourers working in British seasonal agriculture. As per the scheme, enabled 38,000 visas to be issued to farm workers, though the agri sector has warned that it is not high enough to tackle severe labour shortages.

Business groups have welcomes the review as they were pushing a review of the shortage occupation list to tackle labour shortages in certain industries, hit by Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The British Chambers of Commerce's survey this summer – consisting 5,700 businesses – said over 60 per cent of companies needed to find more staff in the UK. However, only more than three-quarters were struggling to hire. For example, 83 per cent of companies were reporting hiring difficulties, the report added.

“Guarding against skills and labour shortages can simultaneously help keep inflation in check while ensuring firms have the people they need to grow, benefiting everyone," the daily quoted CBI employers group as saying.

Other business group cited this review may not necessarily lead to a net increase in immigration.

"We need to put measures in place so that we have the right skills that the economy, including the rural economy, needs to stimulate growth," Downing Street official said, adding, “That will involve increasing numbers in some areas and decreasing in others."

Truss' allies have supported her in her move and opine the new Pm was committed to ensuring the UK would remain a world leader in attracting and retaining talented workers.

But chances are high that Truss's opposition may not agree with her with her anti-immigration sentiment was a key driver of the vote to leave the EU in 2016.

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