Analysts warn that UK immigration cap will hurt growth

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Several economists have said that the UK's immigration cap will hurt economic growth in the country and harm Britain's continued recovery from the global financial meltdown of 2008.

"Limits on skilled migration have a significantly negative effect on growth," said Jonathan Portes of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR).

At the NIESR's pre-Budget conference in Westminster, former government economist Vicky Pryce agreed with Portes.

"There is a debate within government about how immigration curbs on highly skilled employees are affecting growth sectors," Pryce said. "We want government to rethink this issue."

The permanent immigration cap, set to start next month, limits the number of skilled workers that can enter the UK to just over 20,000 a year. There will be a monthly allocation of certificates of sponsorships under the cap which will allow entry of applicants under the Tier 2 visa scheme. There will also be a greater number of certificates of sponsorship issued in April 2011 than in other months; 4200 will be issued in April 2011.