Hundreds of civil engineers have been denied visas to work in the UK over the last few months, a leading engineering organisation has revealed.
More than 6,000 skilled workers were denied work visas from December to March as the cap on the number of people entering the UK under a Tier 2 (General) Certificate of Sponsorship (a skilled work visa) had been reached.
Of the roles affected, 392 were positions for engineers, including civil engineering roles.
The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), which obtained the figures through an FOI request, said it meant hundreds of engineering jobs across the UK are going unfilled, damaging productivity.
CaSE chief executive Sarah Main said: “These figures show the scale of the problem and the urgency to find a solution. Across the country, businesses and public services are being blocked at the last hurdle from recruiting the people they need, including in health, engineering and tech, due to the visa cap. This leaves employers frustrated and the public poorly served.”
Main added there is “no excuse” for not recruiting highly skilled engineers as the UK desperately needs engineers to develop planned infrastructure schemes.
Other professions affected by the visa cap included doctors, teachers and IT professionals.
Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) director for external affairs Marie-Claude Hemming said it is vital that the industry can easily find the right people to deliver major infrastructure projects planned over the next 10 years.
She added: “The development of world-class infrastructure is vital for our economic growth, especially as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.
“As such, government and industry must continue to work together to close the home skills gap through attracting new entrants to the sector, but at the same time, meet current demand by ensuring that those coming to the UK to help build the infrastructure we need to live and work can continue to do so when needed.”
The Home Office has been contacted for comment.