Call for new UK visas amid record number of vacancies | David Sapsted

The latest UK jobs figures, showing the number of vacancies hit a new record high, led to a chorus of calls from business groups for an overhaul of the immigration system to allow businesses to hire the foreign skills they need.

Leading organisations, including the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), are in particular keen to see sectoral extensions to the government’s shortage occupations list to help recruit talent strangers.Data from the Office for National Statistics showed on Tuesday that the number of people on business payroll hit a new high in May of 29.6million. Meanwhile, from the quarter to last month, the total number of job vacancies reached a record 1.3 million, half a million more than before the start of the pandemic.The unemployment rate of 3.8% is near a 50-year low and the number of layoffs in the quarter fell to a new record.Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “Today’s statistics show that our jobs market remains robust with layoffs at an all-time low. Helping people find work is the best way to support long-term families, and we continue to help people find new and better jobs.”However, business groups have said the government needs to do more to tackle skills shortages that are being felt across the economy. Matthew Percival, director of people and skills at the CBI, said an “urgency” was needed to boost confidence and mitigate the risks of a full-scale recession.“Not being able to hire the people they need is a major drag on business confidence, so the government should immediately allow businesses to use their apprenticeship levy to address shortages and bring update the list of shortage professions,” he urged.Jane Gratton, head of human resources policy at the BCC, said the increasingly tight labor market meant it had become much more difficult for employers to fill vacancies, which had an impact on their ability to function normally and retain their skills in the business.“The further rise in the employment rate, coupled with the falling unemployment rate, is good news, but it also reflects how little wiggle room there is for vacancies on the ground,” said- she declared.“We need to find ways to get people back into the UK job market. Flexible working practices, rapid retraining opportunities and careful attention to occupational health can help many economically inactive people return to the workplace.“But for some roles, where there is clear evidence of a national skills and labor shortage, companies need to have access to people, at all skill levels, from outside the UK. United. In addition to issuing temporary and seasonal visas, the UK government must urgently review the list of shortage occupations.

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Ann Swain, CEO of the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), which this week published its own survey of the growing skills shortage, described the UK labor market as approaching “tipping point”.She said: “In recent months we have seen record numbers of vacancies reported by the ONS and the first case where there are more jobs than people out of work.“In a post-Brexit and Covid-stricken economy, the strength of the labor market will be paramount to the UK’s ability to become and remain a global power. To achieve this, policy makers in the country must implement an international approach and strengthen global opportunities.“This includes creating an attractive pathway into the country for highly skilled independent professionals and refocusing international trade agreements on skills, labor and mutual recognition of professional services and qualifications, as well as tariffs and goods.”Neil Carberry, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, warned that if “we don’t address the fact that there aren’t enough people looking for jobs, it could further hamper further the economic growth of the United Kingdom”.He added: “We need to improve our activation programs to help employment agencies get people to work quickly and radically reform the skills system to help close some of the gaps. And we also need an immigration system that is flexible enough to respond to the reality of severe shortages that we are seeing in some areas.”

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