PM expected to expand shortage occupation list to help businesses fill jobs amid recession warnings
Liz Truss is expected to loosen immigration rules in an attempt to stimulate economic growth amid warnings of a recession.
The prime minister is set to expand the government’s shortage occupation list in order to help businesses fill vacancies by recruiting overseas workers with less bureaucracy.
Truss has faced industry demands for more migrant workers to be given visas to come to the UK with labour shortages one of the main concerns voiced by employers across a range of sectors.
Businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector, have been frustrated that the visa system for skilled work has not been responsive enough to alleviate the shortages they have experienced.
Downing Street did not deny that the prime minister is planning to liberalise routes to allow foreign workers to move to the UK, the PA news agency reported.
The cap is expected to be lifted and the six-month time limit extended, according to the Sun.
A No 10 source told the newspaper: “We need to put measures in place so that we have the right skills that the economy, including the rural economy, needs to stimulate growth.
“That will involve increasing numbers in some areas and decreasing in others. As the prime minister has made clear, we also want to see people who are economically inactive get back into work.”
During her campaign for the Conservative leadership, Truss promised to tackle the labour shortages in farming, partly caused by post-Brexit freedom of movement restrictions and accentuated by the pandemic, with a short-term expansion to the seasonal workers scheme.
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A recent government report warned that such shortages were badly affecting the food and farming sector, often forcing farmers to cull healthy pigs and leave fruit rotting in the fields.
The government is expected to set out its plan for migration reform later this year.