EU migration benefits the UK and a new immigration system must continue to allow businesses to access the skills and labour needed to grow
17 November 2017
CBI submission to the Migration Advisory Committee
The CBI has emphasised the benefits of EU migration and outlined priorities for a new immigration system in response to the independent Migration Advisory Committee’s call for evidence
EU migration has had a positive impact on jobs, investment and trade. Yet businesses are struggling to recruit and retain European workers following the vote to leave the EU. The CBI’s submission to the Migration Advisory Committee’s call for evidence outlined how a new migration system can best support the industrial strategy and maintain the benefits of EU migration.
Business is clear that migration from the EU has created jobs for British nationals, boosted foreign direct investment, and increased the ability for UK firms to export goods and services. However, uncertainty for firms over their future access to people and skills from Europe is already negatively impacting investment. The current language being used within the immigration debate and consistent focus on reducing levels of net migration is also having a detrimental impact on the attractiveness of the UK as a place to work. Failure to quickly guarantee the status of EU workers has already damaged businesses’ ability to attract and retain key European workers.
Getting the new migration system right is critical for successful delivery of the industrial strategy. Frictionless access to skilled migrants, including those with vocational and technical skills rather than just ‘the brightest and best’, is key. Continued access to European labour, as well as skills, is required to avoid critical shortages across sectors and regions. The new immigration system must be flexible enough to work for all regions and nations of the UK. Firms must continue to easily be able to move staff to and from Europe under any new system that replaces free movement. The CBI believes that a new approach to migration policy is needed to restore public confidence, including removal of the net migration target which has driven a narrow debate in the UK.
The CBI’s submission was reported in the Financial Times, emphasising that businesses are as concerned about the future migration rules as they are about future terms of trade with the EU.
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is due to report back to Government by September 2018. However, the MAC have indicated that they may publish interim recommendations in the new year after assessing information gathered in the first call for evidence.
The Government are also expected to publish a White Paper on immigration by the end of the year.
For more information please contact Tom.Barrett@cbi.org.uk