Many US employers are exploring opportunities to expand globally. Due to the English-speaking special relationship between the US and the UK, employers may first look to the UK to for international exapansion. However, companies should keep in mind the current difficulty for employers to secure valid work visas.

In both June and July, the cap on Tier 2 visas in the United Kingdom was reached and over 1,300 visa application by companies were rejected. The cap was reached for the first time since it’s 2011 introduction in June.

Tier 2 Visas are available to skilled workers with an offer of employment from a government certified employer. This category includes workers falling under the UK’s skills “shortage occupation list” as well as intracompany transfers. Shortage occupations to date include engineers and scientists. The UK Migration Committee has opened a comment period for recommendations as to which additional occupations should be added to the skills shortage or which occupations require highly specialized experts.

To use a favo(u)rite British phrase being repeated about the situation, the arbitrary cap is “not fit for purpose.” We expect employers will find it increasingly difficult to bring the skilled workers they need to the United Kingdom from outside the European Economic Area.