Visa restrictions continue to roll out in the UK, raising concerns for businesses struggling to fill vacancies and international students seeking career opportunities. The Home Secretary’s recent announcements, including a near 50% increase in the skilled worker visa salary threshold, have sent shivers down the spines of immigration advisors across the country.

While the Home Office claims this isn’t the end of the migration reduction plan, it certainly feels like it for many employers.

Our latest data shows a staggering half of London-based businesses are facing recruitment challenges. This new salary requirement of £38,700 effectively cuts off a significant pool of talented individuals, particularly in key sectors like healthcare, construction, and education.

The impact goes beyond immediate hiring needs.

A 2023 study by the Entrepreneurs Network revealed that nearly 40% of the UK’s fastest-growing companies had foreign-born founders. These restrictions send a message that the UK is no longer welcoming to international talent, a vital ingredient for innovation and economic growth.

The squeeze isn’t limited to skilled workers.

The cost of sponsoring a partner’s visa has also jumped by 50%, making it significantly harder for families to relocate to the UK. Law firms are already labelling these changes as some of the most restrictive in the world.

The Graduate Visa program, introduced just three years ago to attract international students, also faces an uncertain future.

The Home Secretary has ordered a review by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), despite warnings from the committee itself that they lack sufficient time for a thorough analysis. This throws into question the UK’s commitment to its 2019 International Education Strategy, which aimed to boost education exports to a staggering £35 billion annually.

A recent survey of BusinessLDN members paints a worrying picture.

Half of respondents have already hired through the Graduate Visa program, and an equal number plan to do so in the coming year. These restrictions could severely limit access to this valuable talent pool.

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