Immigration Cap May Cause Skills Shortage

Immigration Cap May Cause Skills Shortage

14th November 2010

Businesses will struggle to recruit skilled employees for certain roles if the Government’s immigration cap is set too low from next April, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has warned.

The business group made its comments following the end of a consultation on proposals to limit permanently the number of non-EU skilled workers entering the UK. The Government introduced a temporary cap last year limiting the number of skilled non-EU migrants allowed to enter the UK to 18,700 for the period June 2010 to April 2011.

The BCC has warned that if there is a permanent immigration cap, it should be aligned with the skills needed by employers to ensure economic recovery.

“Engineers are a prime example of the kind of role that employers will struggle to fill if the cap is set too low,”

said BCC policy adviser, Abigail Morris.

“The trajectory of the cap should match up to the skills we need. In certain sectors, businesses rely on non-EU labour because in the past the Government has been unable to resolve the UK skills shortage.”

The business group’s concerns echo those highlighted by the Home Affairs Select Committee in its recently published report, which said a permanent cap could:

“hamper businesses, prevent top-class international professionals from coming to the UK and damage the UK’s ability to recruit the most distinguished scientists into universities and talented individuals into UK companies”.

A UK Border Agency report into the skills shortages published earlier in 2010 – Government-approved shortage occupation list for Tier 2 of the Points Based System (PDF) – highlighted that there are shortages of skilled staff in many sectors including several different types of engineers, chefs and pipe welders.

But the Government is not budging. Immigration minister, Damian Green, said:

“Unlimited migration places unacceptable pressure on public services. New research has shown that too many young people coming here as highly-skilled workers are taking low-skilled jobs, and we will need to deal with this.”

“Alongside our limits there will be action to get people back to work and provide business with the skills they need from the British workforce — reducing the need for migrants at the same time as we reduce their numbers.”

However, the BCC’s Abigail Morris said that the Government’s plans to train people to fill the skills shortages would take time.

“We shouldn’t have a limit on the number of skilled workers coming into the UK until the Government has a realistic plan in place to ‘upskill’ workers for UK jobs, and in the case of engineers it would take seven years to train school leavers to the right level.”

Immigration Cap May Cause Skills Shortage

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>