Airbus UK has had repeated requests to bring engineering experts into the UK to test the aircraft wings ignored by the Home Office and UK Border Agency for almost two months, according to reports in the Telegraph.
The aerospace giant said there were only a handful of highly skilled engineers capable of doing the work on lightning sensitivity in the world and it urgently needed the two engineers to meet the recent surge in aircraft orders. It does not have the visas to bring them into the UK because of the Government’s temporary immigration cap.
The Home Office had failed to return calls, it said, while the Border Agency took seven weeks to respond to letters and even then could not resolve the matter.
The revelations come after a week in which the Government said it would prioritise assistance for large companies such as Airbus, which employs 10,000 people directly and 135,000 through its supply chain, that are creating jobs and increasing exports to emerging countries.
The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has unveiled plans to allocate individual ministers to specific UK companies to drive exports and improve the co-ordination of cross-Whitehall support for business and industry.
Katherine Bennett, vice-president and head of political affairs for Airbus, said the company used “home grown talent” whenever it could and spent £3.5m training engineers each year. However, the business required the skills of specialists – from lightning engineers to composite structure testers – on its aircraft such as the recently re-engined A320 NEO, but it had no visa allocation to bring the non-EU nationals following the Government’s reforms last year.
Ms Bennett said: “The problem is that we have made offers to people and the Home Office are not answering calls. We have written a letter to the Border Agency which has not replied for seven weeks; we have made representations to ministers.
“I appreciate the issues about immigration but it is really affecting us who need highly-skilled people. Source: Telegraph
The Airbus revelations will come as no surprise to the many smaller employers, such as care home owners, who have been desperately trying to appeal to the UK Border Agency to give back their CoS (Certificate of Employment for Tier 2) allocation snatched from them last year when the interim cap was announced.
Although they told by the UK Border Agency that they could reapply for the certificates, which enable the employer to take on an overseas worker on a tier 1 working visa, in practice it has proven almost impossible for jobs with salaries below £20,000.
Like Airbus UK, care homes need the flexibility to employ non-EU staff for MAC (Migration Advisory Committee) listed shortage occupations such as Senior Carers.
MAC is the independent body which reports to the government on migration and labour issues, has recommended a new shorter list of occupations eligible under Tier 2 of the points-based system.
Hammering in another nail in the skilled migration coffin, the UK Border Agency listed 71 jobs which will be disqualified from Tier 2 working visas, as part of the government’s intention to raise the minimum entry level to NQF 4 from NQF 3.
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