As Eagle expands, we hire new staff from time-to-time to cope with the increased workload. (We're not currently hiring by the way, this is a general comment piece...)
The UK's tough new immigration laws make it almost impossible for us to hire anybody who doesn't either have a UK or EU passport or already have the necessary skilled migrant visa. This is a big problem in bioinformatics as the talent pool is spread thinly across the globe. Those that are already in the UK/EU are already in pretty good jobs and so the total number of UK/EU bioinformatics jobseekers at any one time, especially those with the specific skills we need, is tiny. We therefore have to look globally to be able to find the people we need but the new UK laws prevent us from doing so in a number of ways (too numerous to go into detail here).
It seems we're not the only ones facing this problem. The BBC's Robert Peston wrote on his blog today that a number of companies in the UK are now facing big problems in recruiting the staff they need. In theory they could train up UK and EU staff, but this takes time and the demand for jobs to support expansion is immediate, not future. As a result of this difficulty some companies are even considering relocating to countries with more favourable immigration laws.
Here's hoping that the UK business secretary Vince Cable can convince his coalition partners that the new immigration laws are doing more harm than good.