UK recovery depends on skilled migrants

Samar Shams
18 May 2020

If you think that increased unemployment in the UK means that there is less need for work visas for overseas nationals, think again. The pandemic has accelerated the need for new businesses and for talent in sectors that were already in shortage in the UK. Countries’ economic recovery will depend at least in part on attracting people with business and technical expertise in e-commerce, robotics, health tech and automation. International competition for this talent will be fierce.


The UK can attract entrepreneurs to build the future of business by moving quickly to implement a meaningful points-based visa. As per the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations, points could be awarded for age, qualifications and skills. Applicants to this route would not be competing with UK nationals for jobs; they would be moving to the UK to start businesses and create jobs.

For an in-depth analysis of current and future UK visas for entrepreneurs, please read my article ‘Points-based visa for start-ups could stimulate the UK’s economic recovery’ for Maddyness.

Skilled employees

The UK will also need to compete for talented employees. In particular, UK employers should apply for sponsor licences to be able to hire non-UK nationals to work in the UK after the post-Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020. UK employers had enough trouble filling tech roles before COVID-19 exacerbated the shortage of talent in that sector. They will not now be able to source the necessary skills amongst the unemployed workers in the UK, many of whom were in hospitality, retail and office support roles.

For more information on what employers can do to prepare for the future of work and immigration, please read my article ‘Sponsoring skilled workers after Brexit and the pandemic’ for the French Chamber of Great Britain.

If you need a UK visa to set up a business in the UK, or help with sponsoring skilled workers please contact Samar Shams, Spencer West LLP Immigration and Global Mobility Partner, at