According to SJD Accountancy, the UK financial services sector needs more non-EU workers due to a worsening skills shortage. The increase in demand has occurred at a time when recruiters across the financial services sector are experiencing greater difficulties in obtaining Tier 2 visas. The Tier 2 visa cap of 20,700 means that there are not enough Restricted Tier 2 (General) Certificates of Sponsorship (COS) available to meet demand.
Tier 2 Visas Shortage
SJD Accountancy’s Chief Executive Officer, Simon Curry said: “June and July 2015 saw the Tier 2 Certificates of Sponsorship cap hit for the first time. This left many job roles across the financial services sector vacant last summer.”
Over the last 12 months applications for Tier 2 Visas in the financial services sector increased to 6,843, up from 6,270 in the previous 12 months representing a rise of 9.1 per cent. This represents the highest demand for Tier 2 visas to employ people in the financial services sector since the global recession of 2007.
Simon Curry said: “The increase of Tier 2 Visa applications shows that the financial services sector is recovering strongly, but it’s not guaranteed those applications will be granted due to the hoops non-EU workers and employers are made to jump through. This leaves the industry sector starved of the essential skills it needs.”
Increasing skills shortages in Financial Services Sector
According to SJD Accountancy, financial service firms are having difficulty finding enough people locally to meet demand and are increasingly reliant on the UK immigration system to bring in non-EU workers on Tier 2 visas. However, with competition for the 1,650 Tier 2 Visas made available each month growing ever fiercer, the financial services industry is likely to face a continued struggle to source highly-skilled workers from outside the European Union.
Mr Curry said: “One of the primary reasons for London’s success as a financial centre is its global outlook and highly-skilled workforce. Yet, as access to foreign talent is continuously being squeezed, it’s inevitable that London’s position as an international financial hub will be weakened.”
SJD Accountancy says that recruiters in the financial services sector do try and fill vacancies using local talent where possible. However, more and more firms are seeking to fill vacancies with workers from outside the European Union, suggesting that skills shortages are becoming more acute.
It is expensive and difficult recruiting staff from outside the EU using the Tier 2 visa scheme, which suggests that companies are growing increasingly desperate to attract talent with skills. Industry experts say that delays in securing talent are detrimental to competitiveness.
Financial services sector continues to struggle
The skills shortage is causing serious problems for the financial services sector. Business leaders across the industry openly opposing government plans to restrict Tier 2 Visas even further which will make the situation even worse.
In November 2015, Workpermit.com reported on a survey conducted by the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI), which said that 73 per cent of finance workers think that government proposals to further reduce non-EU worker numbers would harm the UK economy in the long-term.
Commenting on the survey, which ran 24 September – 10 November 2015, Chief Executive of the CISI Simon Culhane said: “The outcome of the survey demonstrates the strength of feeling that exists concerning the issue of recruiting highly-skilled non-EU workers.”