There’s not much positive press for Liz Truss at the moment, but one change from the UK Prime Minister which is likely to be better received is a review of Britain’s visa system which could benefit the telecom sector.
The government is set to review the “shortage occupation list” which will enable certain industries more freedom to employ staff from overseas – including, as widely reported, broadband engineers.
The changes would mean a relaxation of requirements around speaking English and simplified entry for migrants from outside the EU with lower visa fees and no employer requirement to prove that there is no suitable local worker for the role.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) welcomed the review saying “Guarding against skills and labour shortages can simultaneously help keep inflation in check while ensuring firms have the people they need to grow, benefiting everyone.”
The Times newspaper reported Truss specifically mentioning the need to recruit broadband engineers from abroad so they can help fulfil a Government promise to ensure 85% of homes have access to full-fibre broadband.
The telecom sector has long recognised it’s skills shortage with various initiatives undertaken to try to address the situation, including Telcom Group and their Telecoms Engineer Bootcamp, whilst the subject was discussed by a panel featuring altnets including CityFibre, Full Fibre and Zzoomm at last weeks Connected Britain.
James Fredrickson, Policy Director at Hyperoptic, is quoted by ISPReview as having said “It’s great to see progress being made on this issue – this will be a big help in securing the skilled labour needed to accelerate full fibre rollout. We will continue to work with the Home Office to maximise the impact of this.”