13 June 2011

Business leaders criticise UK immigration cap

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Business leaders have expressed concern over the government's plan to create a temporary UK workforce of overseas skilled migrants, saying that it could pose a risk to the country's economic recovery.

UK immigration

Business leaders have expressed concern over the government's changes to UK immigration.

The plan is part of the current government's efforts to reduce net UK immigration to below 100,000 a year, and it includes the removal of the right to settle in Britain from thousands of non-EU skilled workers who have been in the country for five years.

While concessions will be made for entrepreneurs and investors investing more than £5m, as well migrants earning more than £150,00 a year, elite athletes and ministers of religion, these will be the only UK immigration arrivals who will have an automatic route to settlement.

Speaking on the changes, Home Secretary Theresa May made the following comments:

"Reducing net migration is not just about reducing the numbers coming here; it is also about increasing the numbers who leave after their initial stay," she said.

"Only tier one [the most highly skilled route] will give a pathway from entry to settlement for investors and entrepreneurs. We expect most tier two migrants will return home at the end of their stay."

However, Dr Adam Marshall of the British Chambers of Commerce has criticised the changes to the immigration system:

"Turfing out valuable migrant workers who are turned down for settlement would be incredibly disruptive to companies of all sizes, and to the UK's economic recovery," he said.

"These proposals could also deter some skilled workers from coming to the UK in the first place. The criteria for which migrants do get settlement rights must reflect business needs and the economy, as well as political considerations."


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