Call for visa route for ‘independent professionals’

A dedicated visa route is needed for independent professionals or skilled talent.

The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has told the government such workers may be deterred from wanting or being able to work in the UK.

The second reading this week of the Immigration Bill in Parliament paves the way for a points-based immigration system. However, as proposed, it includes no dedicated visa route for independent professionals, said Tania Bowers, legal counsel and head of public affairs at APSCo.

The term “independent professionals” would refer to, for instance, project managers or contractors to work in skill-short sectors, “often working on medium to long-term projects which have a beginning and an end – projects that the employer does not want or need a full-time permanent employee for”, Bowers said.

In order to come to the UK, Bowers said, “they would need sponsorship by an employer under the Tier 2 general visa – and that means we are losing access to a whole segment of the international labour market. The Innovator and Start Up visas, although positive steps, are not suited for most independent professionals.”

APSCo is seeking to be involved in the consultation on the high-skilled visa.

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