Migrant Cap Will Increase Skills Shortage

The Government’s planned permanent cap on skilled migrant workers will increase the skills shortage, when almost half of businesses are already struggling to find the recruits they need, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has warned.

The CIPD’s Labour Market Outlook Survey of 600 employers found that 45% had vacancies they were finding hard to fill. It also revealed that 21% are recruiting migrant workers for engineering vacancies, and 18% for both IT and accountancy positions.

The Home Office has already introduced a temporary cap of 18,700 on skilled non-EU migrants entering the UK until April 2011, but a consultation was launched in June to determine a permanent limit. The results are due in September.

“The proposed introduction of a [permanent] migration cap comes at a time when many employers are still struggling to fill skilled vacancies, despite the high unemployment rate,”

said CIPD public policy adviser, Gerwyn Davies.

“The training of local or British workers to fill skilled jobs currently occupied by migrant workers will not happen overnight. If a cap is to be introduced, therefore, it has to be gradually phased in to avoid harming UK competitiveness.”

However, the minister for immigration, Damian Green, said:

“Businesses are going to have to reduce their reliance on migrant workers as this has done nothing to help the millions of unemployed.

“The interim measures we have put in place have been designed to ensure that the brightest and best can continue to work in the UK while preventing a rush of applications before the [permanent] limit is introduced next year. We are consulting with business on how the limit should work in practice.”

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) chief spokesperson, Stephen Alambritis said:

“We are concerned that small businesses will not be able to take on the best person for the job if a permanent cap is placed on the number people from outside the EU allowed into the UK.”

“There are skills shortages reported by small employers and they need to have the flexibility to plug those shortages by accessing a wider pool of talent.”

For more information on the consultation and to contribute before the 17th September deadline, visit the UK Borders Agency website.

Migrant Cap Will Increase Skills Shortage, warns CIPD

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