Cap on non-EU immigration is deeply worrying, say firms

BUSINESSES are “deeply worried” about the government’s plan to introduce a permanent cap on immigration from outside the EU.

Baroness Valentine, the chief executive of lobby group London First, said an arbitrary limit would run contrary to the claim that Britain is “open for business”.

“Any talk of a cap is deeply worrying. London is the most cosmopolitan city in the UK, and has the highest productivity. We need to maintain that,” she added.

Valentine’s comments came as home secretary Theresa May announced a temporary cap
on immigration from outside the EU ahead of a permanent limit to be introduced in 12 weeks, following a period of consultation with businesses.

The temporary curb, which will take effect next month, will limit the number of non-EU migrants to just over 24,000 before April 2011, a fall of five per cent on last year.

The government said that it needed to act because uncontrolled immigration was putting unbearable strain on public services.

But Valentine said: “The problem with a cap on non-EU migrants is that EU migration is the real problem. When people talk about pressure on public services, they forget most comes from within the EU.”