Management Today asks if the government is risking damaging the economy by restricting entry routes to the UK. We should be encouraging more people to come over here, says Josephine Goube.
The UK is ‘open to business’ and Britain ‘still welcomes the best and brightest’, said Prime Minister David Cameron during his recent trip to India.
However, Management Today claims that under his coalition government the Home Office or UK Border Agency has been doing the exact opposite by increasing visa restrictions for non-Europeans, such as removing the post-study work (PSW) visa.
UK Immigration Minister Mark Harper boasted last week that net migration had a dropped by over 30% and confirmed his department’s commitment to continuing with the government’s plan to slash net migration from 250,000 to tens of thousands by the next election.
Now Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has announced plans to restrict access to public services for EU citizens. At the same time, certain areas of the press are whipping up fear that there will soon be a new influx of immigrants as restrictions are lifted for Romanians and Bulgarians entering the UK.
But how much of this scaremongering is justified? Statistics show that migrants from this part of eastern Europe are less likely to come to the UK than their Polish counterparts, are less likely to benefit from the welfare system than UK nationals and are not a burden but a net contributor to the welfare system.
Business leaders and university chiefs are worried that by strictly following its net migration target, the government risks damaging the UK economy and overseas education sector.
Immigration concerns are not justified by data and statistics.
Only 6.4% of all immigrants claim working age benefits, and migrants’ net contribution to the UK economy is estimated to be positive.
The restrictions have resulted in an increase of immigrants’ recourse to illegal routes or visa overstayers hiding in the black economy, and it pushes the more-skilled ones to simply turn their back on the UK and go for more welcoming countries – like the US or Canada.
The government is championing ‘Silicon Roundabout,’ London’s answer to Silicon Valley. But the thriving East London’s technology hub might be short lived if the barriers to recruitment are kept high. Strict immigration rules prevent innovative start-ups from recruiting foreign talents that can fill the very real shortage of IT and computer skilled workers. Source: Josephine Goube, Management Today.
Since coming to power, the government has abolished the post study work visa, which allowed graduates to stay in the UK for two years to gain work experience, abolished thee Tier 1 highly skilled route, raised the bar and made Tier 2 so complicated that most employers cannot be bothered to hire a non-EU worker.
International student numbers dropped by 38,000 last year, at a cost of several billion pounds to the UK economy. Indian and Chinese students are now looking to Australia, Canada and the U.S. study agents report.
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