In December 2018 the government outlined its plans for a new immigration system after Brexit which included a salary threshold, which the Migration Advisory Committee has recommended to be £30,000.
Since the government published its White Paper, the CBI has consulted members and has been clear that a salary threshold set at this level would prevent access to vital overseas labour and skills, all the way from the South West of England to the North East of Scotland. Business is clear that the new immigration system must work for all regions and nations of the UK.
Coinciding with the publication of the new CBI analysis, CBI Chief UK Policy Director, Matthew Fell, and CBI Scotland Principal Policy Advisor, Gregor Scotland, gave separate oral evidence to the House of Commons. Giving evidence to the Immigration Bill Committee, Matthew emphasised the damaging impact a £30,000 threshold would have right across the UK. Further to this, Matthew stressed how a 12-month temporary route to access labour would fail to meet business needs.
Meanwhile giving evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee, Gregor Scotland, highlighted the triple-threat facing Scottish businesses: an ageing workforce, EU workers returning home, and firms being unable to compete with the wages and salaries being offered elsewhere in the UK.
Addressing the potential advantages of a devolved immigration system, Gregor argued that members’ first preference is for a single UK wide immigration system which meets their needs. He went on to caution that a more restrictive system would lead to these calls growing louder.
Going forward, the CBI will continue to work with the Home Office on their engagement strategy to ensure business views from all sectors, regions and nations of the UK are represented.