UK skills shortage could be eased with overseas workers

Workers from overseas could be the key to solving the skills crisis in the UK, according to a new report.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data from August to October showed a 565,000 shortfall in the number of those working or seeking work in the UK.

But the post-pandemic immigration rate of 1.1 million arrivals a year could be the key to solving Britain’s skills crisis if sustained, according to think tank the Social Market Foundation (SMF).

The combination of strong demand from a skills-deprived and older UK workforce, and massive supply from rapidly growing countries that have close links to the UK, like India and Nigeria, could see the current high level of immigration continue into the medium and long term.

The SMF report recommends new policies, including establishing skills partnerships with migrants’ home countries, where the UK would support the training of workers, some of whom would then bring those skills to Britain.

The Government says you will usually need a sponsor licence to employ someone to work for you from outside the UK.

Type of licence 

This depends on whether the workers you want to fill your jobs are:

  • ‘Workers’ – for skilled or long-term employment
  • ‘Temporary workers’ – for specific types of temporary employment

Whether you need a licence will also depend on whether the job that you want to fill meets certain criteria.

Job suitability 

You can sponsor a worker if the job they’re going to do has a suitable rate of pay and skill level, or meets the other criteria needed for their visa.

You will not need a licence to sponsor certain groups, for example:

  • Irish citizens
  • Those with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • Those with indefinite leave to remain in the UK

Need help with employing overseas workers? Contact our team at AGS HR Solutions today.