U.K. Home Secretary Sajid Javid is seeking to soften Britains rules to attract more skilled migrants into the country before Brexit, the Telegraph reported Wednesday.
Javid is expected to announce on Friday that for a limited time, doctors and nurses from outside the EU wont count toward the “tier 2” visa cap of 20,700 people a year. According to the Telegraph, Javid has warned Prime Minister Theresa May in a letter that increased recruitment of doctors from outside the EU has led to a shortage of skilled migrants in other sectors and to the cap being breached in every month since December.
The move would mean businesses will be allowed to employ an additional 8,000 skilled migrants annually in industries including IT, engineering and education, which according to the paper effectively increases the current cap by 40 percent.
The home secretary will also announce a review, to be conducted by the Migration Advisory Council, of the professions that qualify for the visas, with a view to adding GPs and teachers, among others.
Javid reportedly told May in a letter that while he hasnt changed his position on net migration and ultimately wants the U.K. to train more of its own doctors, relaxing the rules is necessary to deal with a short-term crisis in the National Health Service and the flow-on effects onto other sectors.
The PM previously rejected similar calls to loosen the cap by former Home Secretary Amber Rudd. May has pledged to bring net migration to the U.K. down to the “tens of thousands.” Taking back control of Britains borders has been a key rallying-cry of the Leave campaign.