It seems that visitors would be able to indulge in business activities in the UK without obtaining permission from the authorities, thanks to the policy to simplify business visitor rules introduced in the Spring Budget 2023.
Prioritizing economic growth, the Chancellor of the Exchequer put forward the Spring Budget on 15 March 2023. Increasing the supply of labour so that the UK can attract and retain talented individuals from different countries is also prioritized in the budget. The government also aims to assist businesses in dealing with labour shortages effectively while expanding the business visit arrangements for visitors in the UK.
However, the new policies are expected to be less productive and helpful for businesses, even though the government’s intentions and aims are quite optimistic.
The Government Is Consulting The MAC To Update The Shortage Occupation List
The government delegated the task of assessing the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) for the hospitality and construction sectors to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to tackle the issue of labour supply shortages.
Consequently, the government decided to add five professions in the construction industry to the SOL upon MAC’s recommendations. These include masons and bricklayers, roof tilers, roofers, slaters, plasterers, carpenters, and joiners.
This is expected to become effective before the summer break. Plus, the government will continue to review the SOL regularly while consulting the MAC when making crucial decisions so that the legal migration system can become more efficient and resourceful for businesses and economic growth.
What Are The Concerns With This Policy?
Yes, the updates to the SOL are quite promising. However, migrants will still have to fulfill the immigration rules and requirements if they wish to migrate to the UK and seek employment in one of the newly added construction occupations.
For instance, migrants applying for a Skilled Worker visa must meet the English language requirement, fulfill the minimum salary thresholds, and have their employers bear the charges for visa applications.
Don’t forget that the government fees for people applying to work in the UK’s construction sector remain unchanged. Furthermore, it may not be possible for many businesses to pay the fees associated with sponsored visas, locate candidates suitably, and pay the expected salaries, even if they are facing severe labour shortages.
Regardless, the outcomes of these changes can only be confirmed after they are implemented.
Simplifying Business Visitor Rules
The government’s policy to simplify business visitor rules, allowing visitors to indulge in business activities in the UK more freely without requiring work permission, seems to be relatively positive.
According to the announcement, it has been confirmed that this policy will expand the range of short-term business operations and scrutinize permitted paid engagements. These changes are expected to be implemented in autumn 2023.
As a result, businesses will have to assess permitted paid engagements and the expansion of the range of business operations thoroughly to ensure a business visitor follows the rules of the new policy instead of working in the UK illegally.
Sure, the policies in the Spring Budget 2023 seem promising, but the benefits and scope of these changes for businesses with a mobile workforce are unclear for now.
Everyone is hoping that these policies will allow overseas companies to indulge in profitable transactions with their UK clientele seamlessly and the permitted activities will ultimately help all intra-corporate operations.
But what’s important to note here is that these changes will coincide with the execution of the Electronic Travel Authorization Scheme, which can offset the expected positive outcomes of the new policies.
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