Migrant cap on non-EU skilled immigrants will hurt British businesses.
As more British business leaders continue to lobby the government to rethink plans to cap immigration, as it has started to dawn on many companies that they will not be allowed to hire any non-European staff for the rest of the financial year.
Lady Jo Valentine of London First, a lobby group representing a number of major FTSE 100 companies, described the measures as “economically insane”, the Financial Times reported this week.
Top City law firms said several of their biggest blue-chip clients, including large international banks, would be given only a handful of work permits, and in some cases none.
“We have a number of international financial institutions whose allocation has been reduced to zero,” said John Skitt, head of immigration at Clifford Chance.
Caron Pope, who leads the immigration practice at Cameron McKenna, said companies were “furious” about the restrictions. “I’ve had conversations with people who are saying ‘if they are going to make it this hard for us then we’ll just go offshore’,” she said.
The issue is fast becoming one of the biggest early tests for David Cameron, the prime minister. The idea to limit non-European Union workers coming to the UK was a popular part of the Conservative party’s election manifesto.
However, several of Mr Cameron’s cabinet colleagues have raised doubts about the cap, arguing that it would damage Britain’s competitiveness and anger important trading partners such as India.
The subject of the cap was very much on the agenda during Mr Cameron’s visit to India this week, with many people there deeply unhappy with the proposal.
Even a member of his cabinet, Business Secretary Vince Cable, admitted during the visit that the cap was still a matter of debate within government indicating a split over immigration policy.
But Damian Green, the immigration minister, remained defiant: “Businesses have known about the limit for a month, so it is a little implausible that they are expressing shock now … They are going to have to reduce their reliance on migrant workers.”
The UK Border Agency rushed through an interim cap last week because of fears about a flood of applications ahead of the introduction of a permanent limit in April.
But lawyers argued the rush meant the border agency has had to use crude measures to work out how many work permits should be allocated to each company. The agency looked at how many visa applications each company made during the same period last year and then reduced that number.
“It was the worst recession in 70 years, with most companies hanging on by the fingernails,” said Ms Pope. “To use this period for comparison is extraordinary.”
Care industry hit
A number of care homes clients have complained that their CoS (Certificate of Sponsorship) allocation has been wiped out overnight leaving them unable to hire new overseas worker or renew staff on the old work permits.
Many of my clients holding work permits are now unable to renew their stay and continue working for their employers.
A large number of senior care workers are just short of the qualifying period for indefinite leave to remain due to Home Office errors or because they were caught up in the work permit rule change fiasco in 2007.
Employers lose skilled workers and struggle to staff their care homes, workers suffer and the country loses hard working people doing the jobs which most resident workers do not want to do.
It does not make sense that the government gives unofficial amnesties to other migrant groups, such as previous refused asylum seekers, while hounding tax paying healthcare workers out of the country.
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