Factbox: Reaction to Britain’s new immigration rules

Good overview of some of the key reactions (largely business-related):

The British government has outlined a new immigration system to manage the flow of workers into the country and replace existing rules from Jan. 1 2021, when Britain will no longer be subject to European Union regulations.

Here is some reaction to it.

Confederation of British Industry

“Several aspects of the new system will be welcomed by business, particularly abolishing the cap on skilled visas, introducing a new post-study work visa for overseas students, and reducing the minimum salary threshold from 30,000 pounds ($38,982),” said director general Carolyn Fairbairn.

“Nonetheless, in some sectors firms will be left wondering how they will recruit the people needed to run their businesses. With already low unemployment, firms in care, construction, hospitality, food and drink could be most affected.”

British Chambers of Commerce

“Companies are already investing heavily in home-grown talent across the UK, but critical labour shortages mean firms will still need access to overseas workers at all skill levels,” said BCC director general Adam Marshall.

“The new points system must be able to respond quickly to changing market needs, and the application process must be radically simplified.”

UKHospitality, which represents Britain’s hospitality sector.

“Ruling out a temporary, low-skilled route for migration in just 10 months’ time will be disastrous for the hospitality sector and the British people. Business must be given time to adapt,” said UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls.

“These proposals will cut off future growth and expansion and deter investment in Britain’s high streets. It will lead to reduced levels of service for customers and business closures.”

British Retail Consortium

“Although we welcome the reduction in the salary threshold, it is disappointing that the government has not understood the needs of the economy and the vital contribution of workers supporting the operation of warehouses, food factories and city centre stores,” said Tom Ironside, BRC director of business and regulation.

National Farmers Union

“We have said repeatedly that for farm businesses it is about having the full range of skills needed – from pickers and packers to meat processors and vets – if we are to continue to deliver high quality, affordable food for the public. Failure to provide an entry route for these jobs will severely impact the farming sector,” said NFU President Minette Batters.

Unison, the union which represents care workers.

“These plans spell absolute disaster for the care sector. Care doesn’t even get a mention in the home secretary’s plans,” said Unison assistant general secretary Christina McAnea.

Royal College of Nursing

“We are concerned that these proposals from the government will not meet the health and care needs of the population,” said Donna Kinnair, CEO and general secretary of the RCN.

“They close the door to lower-paid healthcare support workers and care assistants from overseas, who currently fill significant numbers of posts in the health and care workforce.”

Opposition Labour Party

“This isn’t an ‘Australian points-based system’, which is a meaningless government soundbite. It’s a salary threshold system, which will need to have so many exemptions, for the NHS, for social care and many parts of the private sector, that it will be meaningless,” said shadow home secretary Diane Abbott.

Food and Drink Federation

“We have concerns about access to those potential employees who won’t qualify through these ‘skilled’ routes such as bakery assistants, meat processors, and workers essential to the production of huge array of basic foodstuffs such as cheese, pasta, and sausages,” said FDF policy manager Mark Harrison.

Source: Factbox: Reaction to Britain’s new immigration rules

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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