Another business organisation has come out in support of migrant workers, recognising their value, as opposed to focusing on costs, to Britain’s vibrant economy.
This week ‘London First’ has reiterated how important skilled migrant workers are to driving the UK economy forward in the wake of Immigration Minister Damian Green’s comments that companies need to wean themselves off their ‘addiction’ to hiring overseas staff.
Despite Mr Green’s assurance that his immigration policies have not deterred skilled foreign workers from moving to the UK to seek work, some sections of the business community believe that the Conservative’s pledge to cut net migration will have exactly that effect.
London First’s communications director Rob McIvor says that migrant workers are particularly important to the London economy:
“They are absolutely essential. The UK and London in particular has always tended to be what the people colloquially call a ‘talent hub’ in the sense that you get an awful lot of international businesses that will locate their headquarters or biggest operations in London and they need to bring in people from around the world as needs dictate. London tends to be the base for that activity and that’s what drives the UK economy.”
Mr Green said in an interview in the Financial Times that the UK welcomes skilled and talented migrant workers “with open arms”, but there is concern that the message from the government on the issue is being perceived as less than welcoming overseas.
Home Office figures show that the annual limit for non-EU workers of 21,700 has been under-subscribed, while the uncapped ‘intra-company transfer’ route has allowed in many Indian and other non-EU professionals.
The government has proposed setting a limit of £35,000 pounds annual salary for non-EU workers to qualify for permanent residency (ILR) in the UK at the end of the qualifying period of five years, which may further deter skilled workers from coming here.
“From a business perspective we’re concerned about a couple of things. One, is the message that is being received, which may not be the message being sent, particularly on the Indian sub-continent, Asia and so on, is that Britain is not particularly welcoming of non-EU migrants.
“There’s this perception that we’re closed for business and if you compound that with some of the challenges we have, in particular the high rate of tax, it tends to put off the kind of highly skilled, talented people that we rather need as we start to pull out of the economic downturn.
“It’s all about perception, we clearly understand what he (Mr Green) is saying, and it’s more the perception abroad rather than the reality which is causing the problem.”
The argument that skilled foreign workers could be deterred from coming to the UK is less convincing when some of the other policies the government has implemented to entice them is taken into consideration.
“To give the government credit it has made a start and they are doings things like simplifying the visa application process which I think would help a great deal. Source: London Loves Business.
One of the main issues for the UK government, which has pledged to slash net migration, is the unstoppable influx of EU migrants from Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.
Employers are increasingly turning to Europeans as migrants on work permits and student visas dry up.
Non-EU students have also been hit by new measures to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands by the end of this Parliament.
International non-EU students are currently allowed work in the UK for 2 years after their studies have finished under the Tier 1 PSW (Post-study work) route. But from 6 April, a more ‘selective’ system will be implemented restricting the right to stay to international graduates who qualify under new rules.
Only those who ‘graduate from a university’, and have a skilled job offer with a minimum salary of £20,000 (or more in some cases) from a reputable employer accredited by the UK Border Agency, will be allowed to continue living and working in the UK.
There is still confusion over the rights of foreign students, some of whom can work 20 hours per week and some who cannot work at all, student dependants and EU members Romanians and Bulgarians, who do not enjoy full rights to work in the UK like other citizens of the European Union.
If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email:
Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.
For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You could qualify for a tax refund if you are an overseas student, work permit holder, Tier 1, Yellow or Blue Card holder – in fact any visa type – even if you are no longer legal or even in the UK!