Headteachers have raised fears that the government’s new immigration proposals could harm schools facing a teacher-recruitment crisis.
The Home Office is today publishing its long-awaiting white paper setting out its plans for the UK’s post-Brexit immigration system.
Home secretary Sajid Javid said the government intends to set a minimum salary requirement for higher-skilled workers applying for five-year visas.
The independent Migration Advisory Committee had recommended a £30,000 threshold, but Mr Javid said the government would consult further on what the level should be.
However, a headteachers’ union today called for teaching to be exempted from the salary threshold for overseas workers.
NAHT general secretary Paul Whiteman said: “A salary threshold for skilled overseas workers would impact on teachers, as many teachers do not earn more than the proposed minimum of £30,000.”
New figures published last month showed the government missed its 2018 teacher-training targets in all but four secondary subjects.
Mr Whiteman said the Department for Education's recruitment and retention strategy, which is expected to be published in the new year, “should include provision for highly qualified candidates from other countries to continue to make a valuable contribution”.
He added: “This would help plug the leaky pipeline that exists in education, with too few graduates choosing teaching as a career and too many experienced professionals leaving prematurely.”
This summer, Tes launched a campaign to stop non-EU international teachers from being turned away from Britain, following an investigation that revealed that desperately needed international teachers are being forced to quit their jobs and leave the country at short notice because they cannot renew their visas.
#LetThemTeach is calling for the entire teaching profession to be added to the "shortage occupation list", which gives higher priority for visas each month.
Today, Mr Whiteman said: “The NAHT believes that, because of the recruitment crisis within education, all roles should be included on the shortage-occupation list.”