Over 30,000 people have signed an online petition against the UK government's decision to deny hundreds of highly-skilled Indian professionals the right to live and work in the country. (Read more)
During the four-month period, 6,080 Tier 2 (General) Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) were refused due the number of applications exceeding the cap imposed by the UK government, London-based CaSE said in a press release on Wednesday. CaSE cited the figures acquired via FOI to highlight the "scale of the problem" being created due to the British government's annual immigration cap. "It is concerning that the (UK) Government have seemed reluctant to release this data, when they did so promptly in 2015. Transparency and accountability with the public and with Parliament is critical to inform the debate on migration and future policy decisions," CaSE executive director Dr Sarah Main said.
Here are 10 things to know:
1. Latest UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures record Indians as the largest chunk of skilled work visas granted (57 per cent) to nationals from outside the EU, indicating that Indians are likely to be the hardest hit by the visa cap, according to Press Trust of India.
2. The UK Home Office said that while it recognises the "contribution" of international professionals, it is important that the country's immigration system ensures that employers look first to the UK resident labour market before recruiting from overseas.
(Also read: UK Announces Double Health Surcharge For Visitors, Students From India)
3. Of all eligible applications for the Tier 2 (General) CoS category, 36 per cent were refused in December, 47 per cent in January, 48 per cent in February, and 59 per cent in March.
4. A Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship or CoS enables professionals from outside the European Union to work in the UK.
5. Currently, an annual cap of 20,700 is applicable on visas under Tier 2 CoS applications, with a monthly limit of around 1,600. Until December 2017, that limit had been exceeded only once in almost six years but since then that limit has been breached nearly every month, CaSE pointed out.
6. Within the 6,080 eligible applications refused, 1,618 (over 26 per cent) were for engineering or IT/technology roles, 1,518 (nearly 25 per cent) were for doctor roles and 1,814 (nearly 30 per cent) for professional services, according to FOI response details pointed out by CaSE.
(Also read: Indian Professionals Challenge UK Government In Court Over Visas)
7. While there is no nationality-wise breakdown of the 6,080 visa refusals under the Tier 2 category between December 2017 and March 2018, it has emerged that more than half (3,497) were for engineering, IT, technology, teaching and medical roles.
8. "6,080 is the number of applications that were refused, not the number of individuals affected as an employer could reapply the following month for a CoS for the same role," it added.
9. CaSE also highlighted that any applications refused during over-subscribed months can re-apply for consideration in the next month. The UK government holds a "Shortage Occupation" list, three quarters of which are in science, technology, engineering or medicine roles. However, critics believe the Shortage Occupation List does not go far enough and the entire quota-based system in unworkable.
10. CaSE has been lobbying the UK government to make job offers in areas where there were clear shortages, such as science and engineering, exempt from the Home Office cap.