BUSINESS organisations have roundly rejected the Prime Minister’s latest calls for immigration reform.
David Cameron said yesterday that the Queen’s Speech would include an immigration bill cracking down not only on illegal foreign workers, but also on the landlords, banks and employers who aid them. The Prime Minister also said that he would not “cave in” and abandon his target of reducing net migration below 100,000, despite new figures from the Office for National Statistics showing that net migration jumped last year by 50 per cent, to 318,000.
Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors, said: “The government’s approach of wedding themselves to a net migration target is very hard to understand.”
“Policy makers have no control over how many UK citizens leave each year, and if the economy were faring worse and more people were emigrating, the net figure would be lower,” he added.
“By setting a target that is neither achievable not desirable, they have only undermined faith in the whole system,” he added.
London Chamber of Commerce chief executive Colin Stanbridge said further restrictions on immigration could be bad for business, saying, “Businesses are already telling us that restrictive visa rules on bringing in international staff, as well as connecting with overseas business visitors have a negative impact on their business.”
“We must think very carefully about any changes to the existing, already restrictive system, and ensure that they do not disadvantage businesses further,” Stanbridge added.
Mark Hilton, director of immigration policy at London First, agreed, saying that while combatting illegal immigration was “absolutely” right, it is “vital that the government does not throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
“Britain’s businesses, especially in the capital, need access to talent from around the world if we are to continue to remain one of the world’s most innovative and productive countries,” he said.