UK visa cap affects law firms
United Kingdom, 18th August: Cap on UK visas for non-EU migrants introduced by the UK government recently is affecting law firms in the UK.
Many law firms in the UK are finding it difficult to get UK work visas for interns and this is making it impossible for them to hire trainees for work in the UK.
Several famous law firms including Norton Rose, Linklaters, Herbert Smith and SJ Berwin are complaining of having to refuse several Indian interns wanting to come to the UK on UK work visas due to the annual cap on UK work permits. Norton Rose says it could not get UK work visa even for a single overseas trainee.
Many firms hire foreign talent in their firms in the UK through UK work permits. But, new UK visa rules for non-EU migrants introduced by UK Home Secretary putting a limit on the number of UK work visas available for hiring foreign workforce.
As per the new UK visa rules, any firm having obtained more than five UK work visas between the period of July 2009 till March 2010 will now get 15 percent lesser UK Tier 2 visas. UK Tier 2 visas are needed to hire interns and trainees from overseas.
A number of UK law firms have strong ties with Indian educational institutes, especially universities and are involved in having recruitment drives in India to choose the best talents for training abroad.
The temporary UK visa cap is applicable to applicants for Tier 1(general) visa category with the exception of in-country and extension applicants.
As for UK Tier 2(general) visa, there will be a limit on the number of Employer Sponsorship Licenses issued by the employers or firms in the UK for existing employees or new migrants.
Meanwhile, the new rules do not impact students, entrepreneurs, sports persons, ministers of religion and investors visas.
The UK Law Society is seeking feedback from several law firms in the UK to be submitted to the MAC(Migrant Advisory Committee) and the UKBA(United Kingdom Border Agency). Both these agencies are consulting public to formulate levels of permanent limits on UK visas to be introduced with effect from April 2011.