UK Issues Record-Breaking 321,000 Visas to Migrant Workers

Amid concerns over potential visa restrictions in the UK, a significant milestone has been reached as a staggering 321,000 visas are granted to migrant workers for employment purposes, effectively countering the nation's ongoing labor shortage.
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In a move to alleviate the pressing labour shortage gripping the United Kingdom, a remarkable total of 321,000 visas have been issued to migrant workers for employment purposes up until June.

This groundbreaking figure not only underscores the nation’s reliance on foreign labour in a post-Brexit landscape but also signifies a momentous 45% surge in the issuance of work visas compared to the previous year.

Healthcare Sector Sees Unprecedented Surge in Work Visas

An especially noteworthy aspect of this surge is the allocation of 121,290 visas for roles within the “health and care” sector.

This marked increase of 157% in visas for crucial healthcare positions sheds light on the challenges faced by the National Health Service and the care industry, which have predominantly sought to bolster their staff by recruiting individuals from India and Nigeria.

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In response to the overwhelming count of job vacancies exceeding a million, the UK government has taken the proactive step of expanding the shortage occupation list and streamlining visa regulations to facilitate the inflow of foreign workers.

The future of immigration in the UK

UK Flag And Passport Image (1)

The UK government has said that it wants to create a “high-skilled, high-wage” economy. This suggests that the government will continue to favour skilled migrant workers over low-skilled workers.

However, the government has also said that it will need to attract some low-skilled workers in order to fill essential jobs. This suggests that the government may introduce a new visa category for low-skilled workers in the future.

The future of immigration in the UK is likely to be shaped by a number of factors, including the economic climate, the political landscape, and the changing demographics of the UK population.

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Also Read: UK Visa Fees Set to Increase 20%, How to Avoid Paying More!

Surge in Student Visas Highlights Growing Educational Opportunities

Simultaneously, a remarkable upswing has been observed in the student visa category. According to data from the UK Home Office, the issuance of sponsored study visas to Indian students has witnessed a staggering 54% increase.

The tally of these sponsored study visas granted to Indian students has reached an impressive 142,848, marking an extraordinary rise of 49,883 visas in comparison to the period ending June 2022, as reported by the Economic Times.

Notably, this figure stands as an astonishing sevenfold escalation from the corresponding timeframe in 2019. Looking at the broader panorama, the UK has granted nearly 500,000 sponsored study visas in June 2023, reflecting a notable 23% upsurge from the preceding year.

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Among these, Indian students constitute nearly one-third of the recipients, with an additional 154,000 visas extended to dependents of these students.

Challenges and Forward Trajectory

Experts say the post-Brexit migration system is driving two shifts:

  • From EU to non-EU migration
  • From sectors which benefited from free movement to sectors where workers qualify under the new system

Jonathan Portes, professor of economics at King’s College London, told Bloomberg that the new system is likely to lead to higher-skilled and higher-paid migration. However, it is also likely to be less flexible and responsive to demand.

The long-term impact of the new migration system on the UK economy remains uncertain.

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In Conclusion

As the United Kingdom grapples with labour scarcities and navigates the intricate landscape of post-Brexit policies, the surge in work visas for migrants and the substantial increase in student visas both signify the nation’s efforts to address these challenges while providing opportunities for both its workforce and its future generation of learners.


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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Travelobiz.com, he's passionate about writing.

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