The number of UK businesses employing skilled workers from overseas has risn by 64% in two years, according to new analysis.
The figure is calculated from the increase in businesses holding sponsor licences to employ migrant workers on Skilled worker visas.
Despite the rise, however, only a small minority of UK employers are currently able to fill vacancies with overseas workers
Data analysed by immigration specialists A Y & J Solicitors shows that currently, 48,470 UK firms hold Home Office licences to employ migrants on Skilled worker visas. House of Commons statistics show that there are 1.4 million private sector employers in the UK, meaning only 3.4% are able to employ migrant workers on the most popular visa route, despite acute labour shortages across many business sectors.
The data does show that there has been a significant increase in the number of firms who have gained sponsor licences in the past two years. In Sept 2020, 29,514 enterprises were registered to sponsor applicants.
Yash Dubal, director of A Y & J Solicitors, said: “The rise in businesses who are looking overseas to fill labour gaps is significant and a result of Brexit and the manpower shortages in the UK. Businesses now have to be licenced to employ any overseas workers, not just those from outside the UK to the rise was to be expected. However, the historic levels of staff vacancies that firms are experiencing have forced more to look overseas for staff.
“The skills pool is global now and firms no longer just compete within the UK for talent. In order to stay competitive, they need to look internationally.”
Office for National Statistics figures show that between June to August 2022 there were 1,266,000, job vacancies in the UK, a decrease of 34,000 from the previous quarter.