Group slams proposed UK migration limits

Proposed UK migration limits would slow oil and gas development off the country, an industry group warns.

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Nov. 22
-- Proposed UK migration limits would slow oil and gas development off the country, an industry group warns.

Under pressure to cut net migration, the government Migration Advisory Committee has recommended that the Border Agency of the UK Home Office tighten limits on skilled and highly skilled migrant workers admitted to the UK from outside the European Union.

It proposes to limit visas for professional migrants next year to 27,400-43,700, compared with 50,000 in 2009. The action covers Tier 1 visas for highly skilled workers and Tier 2 visas for sports people, religious ministers, and industrial workers in categories such as shortage occupations and transfers within companies.

Oil & Gas UK said the proposed limits would hurt the ability of oil and gas companies to assemble specialist teams.

“We are particularly concerned that companies using intracompany transfers (ICT) to bring in the necessary skills and expertise not found in the UK will be included in that cap,” said Malcolm Webb, chief executive of the offshore-producers’ group.

He said a temporary cap on skilled migration “is already causing delays to major UK offshore and gas projects on which, paradoxically, hundreds of jobs for UK residents depend.”

Adoption of the proposed limits would “jeopardize investment in the development of the UK’s oil and gas resources, with the related risk to employment and security of energy supply in the medium and long term,” he said. “We call on the government to ensure that entry of skilled migrants via the Tier 2 route and particularly ICT is protected.”

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