Times Educational Supplement, now known as TES, launched a campaign which has drawn the UK government to commit itself to the review of the availability of the Tier 2 visa for foreign teachers.
The UK Department for Education (DfE) published teacher recruitment and retention strategy on January 28, which revealed its intention to consider giving a higher priority to international teachers seeking UK visas.
TES also conducted an investigation in June last year which birthed the #LetThemTeach campaign. The investigation revealed that teachers on the UK who are of foreign nationalities were compelled to quit their teaching jobs in the UK and leave the country on very short notice all because they could not obtain their Tier 2 visas.
The DfE included in its teacher recruitment and retention strategy, its intention to consider whether the Tier 2 visa shortage occupation list makes provision for additional teaching professions that have been prioritized for visas that are not covered under the subject areas that have a special reference.
School leaders complain about access to foreign teachers
Leaders of schools have complained bitterly about the massive impact the refusal of Tier 2 visas applications was having on their access to qualified teachers who would take up teaching vacancies in the country.
The current Tier 2 visa has an annual visa cap of 20,700. This ultimately limits the number of non-EU applicants who become successful with their skilled-worker visa application. When the number of applications reaches the cap, the applications submitted are then processed in adherence to a point-based system, but a higher consideration is given to Tier 2 visa applications for jobs that pay nothing less than £30,000.
The DfE’s published strategy which is in agreement with the white paper published by the British government is committed to giving attention to applicants who gave high-level skills and whose impact will be of great benefit to the UK. It emphasized the commitment of the government to bring down the net UK immigration statistics to levels that can be sustained.
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