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Global recruitment rising and encouraged by new UK visa routes

Until recently, UK immigration rules have meant that hiring international graduates was a complex, costly process which most organisations could not afford. Proposed changes to UK visa routes with the aim of attracting global talent and retaining it in the UK, could mean that global graduate recruit-ment options become more accessible to employers.

High Potential Individual Visas (HPI)

This new visa allows UK employers to hire international gradu-ates for up to 2 years (or 3 with a PhD) with no need to sponsor them and no restrictions on the kind of work they can do, as would have been the case under previous rules. Only individuals who have graduated from eligible universities over the past 5 years are included, however.

Scale-Up Visas

This visa allows talented workers to come to the UK for eligible jobs within fast-growing UK businesses (scale-up businesses) in order to help them grow. Employers must meet specific criteria to fall under the definition of a “scale-up.”

Sponsorship is required from the employer for the first 6 months, but the worker can stay for up to 2 years.

UK Expansion Worker (Global Business Mobility) Visas

This visa allows workers to come to the UK in order to set up a branch of an overseas business that has not yet started trading in the UK. Workers must already be employed by the overseas busi-ness which is expanding, as either a senior manager or specialist employee. Sponsorship by the employer is still required and there is a list of eligible occupations. The maximum stay on this visa is up to 2 years, however there is further guidance on the gov.uk website for more specific situations.

UK employment of foreign workers highest since Covid-19 pandemic

Global recruitment of graduates and skilled workers in the UK appears to be showing signs of re-covering in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics re-leased this month show that the number of over-seas-born workers in the UK has risen by 223,000 to the end of June, which is up by 184,000 to the end of March and is cumulatively the most signifi-cant rise since early 2020 before the Covid-19 pan-demic hit.

Not only has employment of foreign workers in-creased, but the demographic of the workers has also seen a change in the wake of Brexit from Jan-uary 2021.

Non-EU workers have increased by 189,000 whereas EU workers only rose by 34,000 over the past 12 months.

Government data from August 2022 stated that this year, India has overtaken China as the largest nationality being issued sponsored study visas in the UK. There was an 89% increase in Indian stu-dents receiving visas compared to the previous year. Until June, 103,000 work visas (skilled and seasonal) were issued to Indian nationals also, showing a 148% increase on the previous year.

International recruitment to tackle care sector crisis

In addition to the new visa routes for skilled workers, health secretary Steve Barclay is also looking to en-courage overseas recruitment to combat the threat of severe staff shortages in the care sector this winter.

Barclay has suggested sending NHS managers to India and the Philippines in order to recruit thousands of nurses, according to The Times.

“Our new international recruitment taskforce is con-sidering innovative ways to boost staffing numbers within health and adult social care. As part of this, we will work with the sector and recruitment experts to examine how to recruit staff from overseas more effectively into adult social care.”

Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson

According to James Smith, economist at ING:

"Migration - a key source of worker shortages through the pandemic - is showing some signs of bouncing back."

Remember immigration compliance

Hiring international workers in the UK is on the rise again, but employers should remember their obligation to carry out thorough right to work checks on all po-tential employees, including those recruited through UK visa routes (and to continue to carry out follow-up checks on those with time limits). International recruitment to tackle care

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