Home Office to investigate impact of tougher immigration rules on teacher shortages

The government is to evaluate the consequences of its controversial new immigration rule that means a non-EU worker earning less than £35,000 can be deported, according to a teaching union

Richard Vaughan

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Tougher regulations mean any skilled workers, including teachers, from outside the European Union who have been living in the UK for less than 10 years will have to earn more than £35,000 a year to be able to settle in the country permanently.

Heads' and teachers' leaders have repeatedly warned that Home Secretary Theresa May’s new law will result in thousands of teachers leaving the country at a time of acute teacher shortages. The changes came into effect in April.

But the NASUWT teaching union said today that the Home Office had agreed to instruct its Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to investigate the issue of teacher supply.

'Children denied teachers' expertise'

“In its direct engagement with the Home Office and the MAC, [the NASUWT] has made clear that the impact of a salary threshold on migrant teachers would create serious problems for schools, unfairness for migrant teachers and deny children and young people the opportunity to benefit from the expertise of these highly skilled professionals,” union general secretary Chris Keates said.

“Given the current recruitment and retention crisis, the introduction of needless barriers to the employment of overseas trained teachers makes no sense.”

Some jobs, such as nurses and PhD-level positions, are exempt from the law as they are included on the “shortage occupation list”.

Union leaders will hope that similar exemptions will be afforded to the teaching profession.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "The home secretary has commissioned the MAC to carry out a partial review of the shortage occupation list.

"The review will examine primary and secondary education to determine whether there is a shortage of the required staff that could sensibly be solved in part through non-EEA migration.”

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Richard Vaughan

Richard has been writing about politics, policy and technology in education for nearly five years after joining TES in 2008. He joined TES from the building press having been a reporter and then later news editor at the Architects’ Journal. Before then he studied at Cardiff University’s school of journalism. Richard can be found tweeting at @richardvaughan1

Find me on Twitter @RichardVaughan1

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