The Science and Technology Committee has published a report stating that it needs to be easier for SMEs to employ people from outside the EU, while claiming that the skills gap currently costs the UK £63 billion annually in lost GDP.
The report report called for the requirements for immigrants to be changed so that IT jobs can be obtained using Tier 2 visas. This allows SMEs to more easily employ people from abroad.
The government recently made changes to help SMEs recruit specialists from outside the EU, but the report says that the new rules exclude companies with 20 or fewer employees.
Science and technology committee chairwoman Nicola Blackwood said: “The UK leads Europe on tech, but we need to take concerted action to avoid falling behind.
“The government deserves credit for action taken so far but it needs to go much further and faster. We need action on visas, vocational training and putting digital skills at the heart of modern apprenticeships.”
Also unable to take advantage of Tier 2 visas, along with smaller companies, are firms that are more than 25 per cent owned by a larger company and those with “significant investment” from FTSE 100 companies.
The committee wants digital skills to be made one of the “core components” in all apprenticeships, not just digital apprenticeships.