Call for sponsorship to back overseas staff

Employers are demanding that the Government cut away red tape surrounding overseas recruitment.

Foreign nationals offered jobs by British firms should be granted a work permit automatically, the CBI’s senior policy adviser Jonathan Edwards said.

And a group representing IT and communications recruiters called for the law to be changed so agencies can sponsor work permits for skilled staff and move them from project to project.

“This sponsorship would make the agency responsible for overseeing the worker while they were in the UK. This would be an excellent way of ensuring workers are fully employed in high demand areas,” said the Association of Technology Staffing Companies’ chief executive Ann Swain.

The Home Office hinted last week that it is sympathetic to employers’ concerns. In a speech to the Institute for Public Policy Research, Immigration Minister Barbara Roche said consideration was being given to a more business friendly system.

She said, “One approach would be to make the system even more market-based by making a work permit contingent primarily on a job offer at a sufficiently high level, rather than seeking to identify employment sectors with shortages.”

The minister stressed she was launching a debate on immigration rather than setting out hard and fast policy. But the CBI anticipates she will reveal more of the Government’s thinking at a London conference next month.

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