Immigration cap leaves Hospitals Trusts in a lurch

Unable to hire staff, at least one of the trusts moves UKBA
14th September 2010: Immigration cap has left Hospitals Trusts unable to hire staff. At least one of the trusts has decided to move the UK Border Agency on the issue.
As many as 100 foreign nurses with job offers from North West London Hospitals Trust have been left in a limbo due to the immigration cap announced last month.

As of now, the trust cannot issue them with a certificate. This is because the number of “certificates of sponsorship” employers is allowed to issue to foreign staff needing UK residency has been cut by 5 per cent.

The trust is now appealing against the restriction with the UK Border Agency. A decision in this regard is expected by October.

NHS Employers deputy head of employment services Caroline Waterfield said other trusts were also facing similar predicament and some were even unable to extend the contracts of existing staff.

Already, London Mayor Boris Johnson called for a major rethink on Government’s policy of placing a cap on immigration; and has shot off a communication to home secretary Theresa May.

Employers have also joined forces to raise a voice against the impending immigration cap.

Expressing concern, the Law Society has asserted the cap on immigration may eventually result in “legal work” moving elsewhere and damaging London’s competitiveness as a global financial centre.

The development is significant as the business lobby is building up its case in favour of having doors open for high-flyer staff, and is confident of winning, even as the government is carrying on with consultation on the issue.

The intense petitioning against the immigration cap is expected to show results soon. Following an unrelenting crusade from the CBI and other employer groups for Britain to keep the doors open to skilled overseas workers, the lobbying by anti-immigration groups may eventually see mediocre results.

The Law Society too has moved in claiming “legal work” will shift if outstanding workforce from other countries reaches Heathrow, only to be told they need to take a u turn.

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