The government has announced design of the new immigration system. Following three years of campaigning, it includes several key features the CBI has called for. These include:
- Lowering the minimum salary threshold down from £30,000
- Greater flexibility on salary thresholds for roles facing shortages
- Removing the cap on skilled workers and scrapping the 28 day ‘resident labour market test’
- Commitment to introduce a separate, unsponsored points-based route for migrants without a job offer.
All these features are a marked improvement on the current non-EU immigration system and will make it easier to hire migrant workers via the skilled worker visa route.
But despite these improvements, the new system will not meet the needs of some key sectors of the UK economy
Whilst welcoming these positive changes, governments plans will still pose a challenge for sectors requiring access to labour to fill vacancies and sectors with freelance roles.
No temporary visa route means the CBI still has concerns about employers ability to hire labour to fill shortages. This will impact sectors like care (care workers ineligible), construction (general labourers ineligible), hospitality (waiters/waitresses, housekeepers, cleaners all ineligible), food and drink manufacturing (factory workers for food stuffs ineligible), and logistics (LGV drivers and warehouse operatives both ineligible)
No dedicated route for freelancers or the self-employed will have a big impact on sectors which currently have a high proportion of EU nationals with this type of contract, like construction and the creative industries.
What happens now?
The CBI will continue to campaign on members’ behalf to ensure the new immigration system is operationally effective for day one and will be supporting members with practical guidance for accessing the new system.
Find out more about how to get involved with CBI’s work on immigration and share how this will impact your business.