Employers should be able to recruit non-European skilled graduates, says EEF

Government is acting unreasonably in restricting employers’ ability to access skilled non-EEA graduates, claims manufacturers’ organisation EEF.

Manufacturers’ organisation EEF today submitted its evidence to the House of Lords’ Science and Technology Committee inquiry into international STEM students.

In its evidence, EEF criticised the government’s decision to abolish the Tier 1 post-study work route, arguing that this decision is restricting employers’ ability to attract STEM graduates from outside of Europe, many of whom are left with no choice but to leave the UK after completing their studies.

Under the defunct Tier 1 rule, non-European Economic Area graduates who had studied in the UK were able to seek employment here for two years after completing their studies

EEF recommends that government restores the Tier 1 post-study work route and makes the process of recruiting non-EEA graduates easier and simpler, giving manufacturers access to a wider talent pool when skills shortages are rife.  

In a statement, 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.’

Key statistics:

  • A quarter of manufacturers have recruited a non-EEA graduate in the past three years
  • One in ten companies specifically plan to recruit a non-EEA student in the next three years
  • Almost half of manufacturers disagreed that the process of recruiting a non-EEA graduate was easy
  • Over half (53 per cent) found the process of recruiting a non-EEA student very time-consuming
  • Four in ten companies had difficulties securing a sponsorship licence when recruiting a non-EEA student
  • Almost half had difficulties obtaining a visa for their non-EEA graduate employee
  • A positive balance of 22 per cent of companies said they would definitely hire a non-EEA student again

 Source: EEF Higher Education Survey 2013