UK's Truss To Review Visa Schemes To Fill Labor Gaps - Reports

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 25th September, 2022) New UK Prime Minister Liz Truss faces the first challenge of her government as she looks to review visa schemes to address severe labor shortages in key industries, British media reported Sunday.

The plan includes a higher cap on seasonal agricultural workers and changes to the shortage occupation list, which will allow certain industries to bring in more foreign staff, the Financial Times said.

Truss reportedly wants to have more broadband engineers hired from abroad to deliver on the government's promise to make full-fiber broadband available to most households by 2025. She is also considering loosening the English skill requirement in some industries.

But the plan is set to draw criticism from Conservative Brexiteers, including in Truss's new cabinet, since immigration was one of key concerns that prompted the UK's split from the European Union in the first place.

The UK has been plagued by lack of skilled workers in healthcare, construction and agriculture. Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated those shortages. The British Chambers of Commerce estimated in July that 60% of companies needed to hire more staff and three-quarters of those were struggling to hire.