LONDON, May 16 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of skilled workers such as scientists, doctors and engineers from outside the European Union (EU) are being denied UK work visas due to a cap on numbers imposed by the British government, a newspaper report said here Wednesday.
The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) got the data from the British Home Office under freedom of information rules, sparking fresh criticism of the British government's immigration policy, according to the Evening Standard newspaper.
It showed that more than 6,000 requests for Tier 2 visas, for skilled workers from outside the EU, were rejected in the four months to March.
They included 1,518 for doctor roles, 1,226 for IT and technology, 392 for engineering, 361 for other health professionals and 197 for teaching.
The impact of the Tier 2 cap of 20,700 a year is also hitting other sectors of the economy with the monthly quotas far short of what businesses need.
The refusals came between December 2017 and March 2018 and were the result of an annual limit of 20,700 so-called Tier 2 visas introduced in 2011 while the current British Prime Minister Theresa May was home secretary.
It is understood that the limit had been breached only once before in 2015, when 66 engineering roles were refused.
There are fears the refusal rate will get even worse this summer forcing up the minimum salary requirement for non-EU skilled workers to above 60,000 pounds or some 81,000 U.S. dollars.
The Commons science and technology committee responded by announcing it will draw up its own proposals for immigration and visa rules for scientists, and criticized the government for failing to come up with post-Brexit plans.
Committee chairman Norman Lamb said, "Today's revelation that more than 1,600 IT specialists and engineers offered jobs in the UK were denied visas between December and March sends the message the UK is not interested in welcoming science talent."
A Home Office spokeswoman said, "The government fully recognizes the contribution international professionals make to the UK. However, it is important that our immigration system works in the national interest."
She stressed that when demand exceeds the monthly available allocation of Tier 2 (general) places, priority is given to applicants filling a shortage or PhD-level occupations.