UK: Will Restrictions on Hiring Foreign Workers Damage London Businesses?

A leading business group has warned the government that new plans to restrict the number of foreign workers coming to the UK will hinder the hiring of top talent.

David Cameron”s party has come under increased pressure to reduce the number of migrants arriving in the UK after it was revealed that net migration had climbed to 318,000 in 2015 – well above the Prime Minister”s pledge to reduce net migration into Britain to below 100,000. As a result, the Conservatives are planning to introduce a number of further measures to cut migration to the UK from outside the European Economic Area, including raising salary thresholds for those here under the Tier 2 visa category.

However, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an independent body that advises the government on issues regarding immigration, has been warned by London First business group that reducing economic migrants from outside the EEA would be a “clear threat to London”s status as a world-leading global talent hub”. They have called for an immigration system that supports recruitment of international talent, rather than hinder it.

The MAC has recommended against raising the salary threshold which currently stands at £20,800 per year for new hires and £41,500 for long-term intra-company transfers. It has stated that any increase on this amount “would be strongly opposed by many employers and would cause serious problems in particular sectors.”

The London First group has also made further recommendations to end caps on the numbers of overseas migrants, whilst leaving ICT migrants uncapped. The MAC is now conducting a second consultation, and is expected to publish a wider review in December.

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