Tuesday 9 July 2019 1:08 pm

British businesses attack post-Brexit immigration policy

Over half of British business with staff from abroad would be hurt by government proposals that skilled migrant workers would have to earn £30,000 to get a UK visa after Brexit, a survey has shown today.

Read more: ‘Low growth economy’: Brexit uncertainty plagues business investment

Meanwhile almost 60 per cent of employers said they would be negatively impacted by plans to impose a 12-month work and residency limit on lower skilled migrants, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and jobs website Indeed.

In a report on a joint survey, the two organisations criticise government proposals for Britain’s post-Brexit immigration system.

Jane Gratton, head of people policy at the BCC, said: “When businesses are unable to recruit skills and labour at a local or national level, the UK’s new immigration system must allow them to access non-UK workers quickly and cost effectively.”

She called on the next prime minister “to ensure the UK’s future immigration policy has the right balance of flexibility and controls to alleviate their concerns”.

Her organisation represents 53 chambers of commerce from around the country.

The survey also revealed that over a third of firms would be negatively impacted by an extension of the immigration skills charge to EU nationals. 

The charge is currently paid by businesses for each migrant worker they recruit from outside the EU, but could apply to nationals from the bloc after Brexit, adding to the employers’ costs.

Gratton said: “The survey results reflect the extent of business concerns about future restrictions, charges and thresholds.” 

“Salary thresholds and visa restrictions must reflect economic realities,” she said. 

Businesses highlighted their need for people with foreign language skills, with over 20 per cent saying German and Mandarin Chinese will be important to their business in the next five years.

Read more: UK skills gap costing businesses billions each year

The BCC and Indeed said this shows “the importance of ensuring native speakers are available and improving language skills in the UK workforce”.

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