In a submission of evidence to the House of Lords’ Science and Technology Committee inquiry into international STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) students, the manufacturers’ organisation EEF argued that Government is acting unreasonably in restricting employers’ ability to access skilled non-EEA graduates.
EEF criticises the Government’s decision to abolish the so-called Tier 1 post-study work route, arguing that this decision is restricting employers’ ability to attract vital STEM graduates from outside of Europe, many of whom were left with no choice but to leave the UK after completing their studies.
It further argues that the process of recruiting international graduates is time-consuming and burdensome, further hampering employers’ efforts to bring new international talent into their companies.
EEF’s evidence says a quarter of manufacturers have recruited a non-EEA graduate in the past three years and one in ten plan to do so in the next three years. Four in ten companies had difficulties securing a sponsorship licence when recruiting a non-EEA student and almost a half had difficulties obtaining a visa for their non-EEA graduate employee.
Tim Thomas, Head of Employment and Skills Policy at EEF, said: “Manufacturers rely on the recruitment of non-EEA graduates to meet their skills needs, particularly those that hold degrees in the sciences, technologies, engineering and maths (STEM). Government policy should not unreasonably restrict employers’ ability to access this talent pool; however industry fears that current migration policy is doing just that.
“Government should promote the value of international graduates, just as employers do. It should restore the Tier 1 post-study work route, or, introduce a route which allows international STEM graduates to stay in the UK after their studies to occupy hard-to-fill roles in industries such as manufacturing. Government must work harder to remove the hurdles employers face when recruiting international graduates, giving businesses simple, easy access to skills they desperately need”
Copyright Ken Hurst 2014