Monday 11 February 2019 8:55 am

Immigration proposals will cost employers more than £1bn in red tape

The government’s new immigration proposals could cost employers more than £1bn by 2025 due to red tape, a report has found.

Under the plans thousands of European workers will be required to secure a sponsored visa from their employers, creating a “bureaucratic headache” for businesses, according to analysis of the government’s Immigration White Paper by Global Future, a pro-freedom of movement thinktank.

Read more: New visa for architects as trade body calls for immigration reform

Business groups and politicians slammed the proposals and urged the government to avoid placing additional cost burdens on companies after Brexit.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Ed Davey said the plans were the “biggest red tape threat British businesses have ever seen”.

“These policies would be expensive and destructive for employers across the country, and Britain simply can’t afford them,” he said.

The report states that the private sector will shoulder the burden of 70 per cent of the costs, totalling £805m over five years, while the public sector is expected to be hit with a £337m bill.

“London is far more dependent on an international workforce than the rest of the UK,” said Sean McKee, director of policy and public affairs at London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“Non-UK nationals form a quarter of the workforce, compared to one eighth for the rest of the UK.

“To ensure London remains globally competitive it is essential that the Government works with London’s business groups to understand the real-term impact of their proposals on businesses.

Read more: The immigration white paper is a case study in self-sabotage

“A new system should seek to support and enable businesses, not hinder them.”

Edwin Morgan, interim director at the Institute of Directors, added: “The government must listen to employers as they develop their post-Brexit migration policy, making sure it doesn’t unnecessarily add add to the already mounting cost burdens companies face.”