The UK government is reportedly sponsoring a £300,000 ($376,491) recruitment drive of overseas teachers, despite Theresa May's promise to cut net migration to "tens of thousands". Whitehall is looking to hire teachers from the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland and America in a bid to tackle a shortage of physics and maths teachers.
A bid document, uncovered by The Daily Telegraph, invites recruitment firms to apply for the contract which will begin in February. The move comes after the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) was commissioned by the government to investigate the labour market for teachers in nursery, primary, secondary and special needs education.
The independent group of economists, among other things, recommended that the government widened the number of subjects for which schools can recruit non-EEA teachers from.
"There seems to be evidence for shortage among maths, physics, science, computer science and modern foreign languages," said Professor Alan Manning, the chairman of the MAC.
"For Mandarin there is less evidence because there are currently so few Mandarin teachers but we were persuaded that it is hard to recruit teachers in that subject because so few students have studied it in the past that there is only a small pool from which to recruit potential teachers."
The group last year was reluctant to put non-EEA nurses on the skilled occupations list, warning that non-EEA skilled migration provides a "get out of jail free card" for the health and care sector.
"The long term solution to addressing this shortage is recruiting and retaining staff by providing sufficient incentive and opportunity," said David Metcalf, the former chair of the MAC.
Immigration is expected to be a major negotiation point of the UK's divorce talks with the EU, with May not seeking to maintain the UK's membership of the EU's single-market.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that net migration to the UK hit more than 330,000 in the year to June 2016.
A Department for Education spokesperson said: "As part of our commitment to Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (Stem) subjects, and based on direct feedback from schools themselves, we are supporting schools to recruit, employ and develop high quality overseas maths and physics teachers.
"Schools will play a key role in assessing overseas candidates, ensuring their needs are met, and will be responsible for awarding employment contracts."