Updated 5 September, 2016
- Businesses can bring in key skilled staff from outside the EU although their number is limited to 20,700 per year. The monthly cap was reached during three months in mid-2015 but the annual limit has never been met.
- There is no limit on the number of existing staff that can be transferred in and out of the UK by international companies with a base in the UK. These ICTs are the largest work route; numbers have grown from 29,000 in 2010 to 34,000 in 2015. For long-term ICTs (up to five years), the minimum salary is £41,500, while for short-term ICTs (up to 12 months) it is £24,800. From April 2017, however, all ICTs will be required to qualify for a minimum salary threshold of £41,500, although for graduate trainees the threshold will be £23,000.
- There were 1.7 million Business Visitors in 2014, up by 140,000 from 2010.
- There were 7.5 million tourist visas issued in 2014, up by 2 million from 2010.
- There is no limit on number of genuine students that may study in UK.
- There is no limit on the number of foreign graduates that employers can recruit from UK universities for graduate work provided that the salary is £20,800 or more, but only 5,900 were taken up in in 2015.
- The shortage occupation list allows employers to recruit directly from outside the EU for 36 broad roles, mainly in Science and Engineering, without first having to advertise in the UK and EU. These accounted for 9% of Tier 2 applications in 2015.
- Special channels for exceptionally talented individuals, and for investors and entrepreneurs to start businesses in the UK.
- Work permits, ICTs, business visitors, tourists have all increased since 2010.
Yet, even with net migration at record levels, the business lobby still complains.