21 December 2016

  |  CBI London

News

Business priorities for a new migration system

The CBI has published a paper outlining the key priorities for a new migration system following Britain’s vote to leave the EU. 

Business priorities for a new migration system

Immigration was a defining issue of the EU referendum campaign and Prime Minister Theresa May has said that freedom of movement cannot continue as before.

Establishing a new post-Brexit migration system that is responsive to economic needs, while also recognising public concerns, is vitally important for business.

Access to labour to fill labour shortages, a system that is responsive to economic need and access to skilled workers top the list of businesses requirements for any future migration system.

To provide reassurance, for both workers and their employers, an immediate priority should be securing a reciprocal agreement on the status of EU nationals already in the UK.

The CBI has laid out four key priorities which the new migration system must meet in order to deliver economic growth and prosperity:

  1. Maintain ease of access to do business – a future system must maintain ease of movement for travel and trade with the EU, the biggest market for British businesses. This also means the border in Northern Ireland remaining open with easy passage through ports and airports for UK citizens in the EU, and vice versa.
  2. Accept the need for non-graduate migration – with record employment levels, parts of the UK labour market are already facing labour shortages. Therefore a certain level of non-graduate EU migration for work will be needed and the future system should allow this.
  3. Make it easy for skilled people to come to the UK and contribute – in a globally connected economy, a competitive migration system is needed to attract the investment and jobs that create prosperity. Ensuring that Europe’s large pool of talent remains easily accessible to UK business is critical.
  4. Secure the UK’s global position as an attractive hub - while redefining the UK’s economic and trading links with Europe must be the first priority, remaining open to the rest of the world is also key.

Supporting the UK’s world-leading universities in attracting international students, including from Europe, is vital.

For further information, please contact Tom Barrett.