The UK Visa Bureau has just posted that, today, the UK Government is expected to announce their official cap on the number of UK visas granted as of 2011.
Those impacted by this permanent limit will be visa applicants outside of the European Economic Area (which is comprised of all of the European Union plus Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein). Whereas 50,000 visas (Tier 1 and Tier 2 alike) were issued last year, migration advisors have recommended this quantity be reduced to no more than 43,700.
This limit may not include all intra-company transfers, however; potentially excluded will be employees being transferred by their employers who make more than £40,000 annually.
2011 may further bring about proposals that would reduce the number of UK visas granted to students moving to the UK for non-degree studies (who, along with degree-program students, come here under Tier 4), as well as to family members of visa-holders already in residence in the UK.
So if you’re planning a London relocation through your company, you likely don’t have to be as concerned as those hoping to move to London without a job or for a new one. If you fall in the latter category, don’t fret just yet that you’ll never live the dream—do your research and get your ducks in a row as best as you can, as soon as you can, knowing that it won’t be a free-for-all. It hasn’t been anyway!
In any case, there is value to what skilled workers immigrating to the UK can bring, so the government is surely taking that into account as they make this decision—you just might be the desirable candidate the country needs to prosper :). And by the way, if you need some guidance on what these UK visa tiers are all about and which you’d need to apply for, see my previous post, “Shedding Light on UK Visa Tiers so You Don’t Shed Visa Tears.”
It remains to be seen, then, how much this might diminish the new expat population seeking to rent London apartments next year…hmm…