Leading think-tank, ippr, said the British government should offer tax breaks and other incentives to highly-skilled “super-mobile” migrants in order to attract the best people to come to the UK.
The influential Institute of Public Policy Research (ippr), said in a new report that Britain could lose out on sought-after skills offered by mobile immigrants if they re-migrate to other countries.
Professionals from countries such as India and the Philippines are among the groups of immigrants, where there is evidence that not all of them are interested in settling down in Britain, but prefer to work here for short periods and move on elsewhere.
More efforts should be made to encourage them to stay in Britain, the report said.
The report, ‘Shall we stay or shall we go: Re-migration trends among Britain’s immigrants’, dismisses fears over population growth due to immigration.
Tim Finch ippr’s head of migration, said many more immigrants were coming to Britain for short periods of time before leaving.
“The migration debate in the UK is fixated with the idea that immigrants come to settle and not enough attention has been paid to the fact that more and more immigrants are spending only short periods in the UK.
“Our research shows that many groups of migrants are now increasingly mobile. They are coming to UK to study and work for short periods and then they are moving on.”
Competition for highly skilled migrants from Canada, Australia and the US will increase in future years, and schemes to retain migrants may become as important as attracting them in the first place, Finch said.
The report states:
“We need to be making migrants feel more welcome in this country, both in the way we talk about them, and in more practical ways. In particular we need to ensure that integration policies and service provision take account of the fact that many migrants will be in the UK for relatively short periods.”
The report suggested measures to encourage migrants to stay longer in the UK:
- extending schemes to encourage and help foreign students to find jobs here after they graduate;
- awarding extra points under the new points-based system to highly skilled migrants who are committed to staying in the UK longer term;
- simplifying processes for visa and work permit extensions, allowing skilled migrants to bring in their families more easily;
- creating tax incentives
Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said:
“This report further demonstrates migrants come to the UK for a short period of time, work, contribute to the economy and then return home. Our new flexible points-based system gives us greater control on those coming to work or study from outside Europe, ensuring that only those that Britain need can come.”
The report’s authors say that with Britain in recession, the number of migrants arriving each year will either fall or ‘at least stabilise’. They predict that over the next two years the number of migrants leaving Britain is likely to be around or above 200,000 and may remain above 150,000 for at least the next five years’.
Immigration Matters Comment
Many top Nurses, Doctors and other professionals are leaving the UK and receiving a warm welcome from countries like Australia, Canada and the US, where permanent residency is granted after very short periods, sometimes a low as one year.
Contrast this with the UK where the current 5 year period, for skilled workers, is about to be raised to 8 years under an “earned citizenship” scheme, which, it is proposed, will also include a new points based test.
He new rules are part of the 2009 Borders Citizenship and Immigration Act, which appears to be designed to reduce the numbers of skilled workers settling in the UK by making the process longer and harder.
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