The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) says that the UK urgently needs immigrants because young Brits won’t relocate to areas where they are needed to fill jobs. The group claims that young people in the UK are reluctant to do certain types of work such as caring for the elderly, therefore migrants represent the ‘best bet’ for filling skills gaps.
Currently the UK visa system allows entry of overseas nationals in higher skilled jobs under the Tier 2 visa and Tier 2 sponsorship licence scheme. EU and EEA nationals can enter the UK and work in any type of work including in lower skilled occupations.
The CBI’s director-general, Carolyn Fairbairn, urged MPs to keep Britain’s borders open to foreign workers as they’re ‘crucial to meeting the country’s high demand for labour.’ “There are parts of the UK where unemployment is really, really low [such as Exeter],” she said.
“Many of the young unemployed people are on the other side of the country and they are not going to come down to Exeter, and they don’t,” Fairbairn added.
UK Visas for Foreign construction workers needed
Fairbairn pointed out that industry sectors, such as construction, require a huge number of workers as the Government plans extra infrastructure development. However, these industry sectors are reliant on foreign staff coming into the country from EU Countries.
However, while much of public debate surrounding post-Brexit immigration rules has centred on ‘maintaining the flow of highly skilled workers’ into industry sectors such as financial services the CBI argues that lower skilled workers are equally as crucial to Britain’s workforce to do jobs such as looking after the elderly.
Addressing the Brexit select committee – a 19 strong group made up of members of the House of Lords – Fairbairn said: “We have an aging population and a real demand for people who are happy to come and care for our aging population. It is time to move off the theory and onto understanding where we really do have these stresses and strains in the economy.”
Anti-EU Former head of British Chambers of Commerce wants tougher visa controls
Former head of the British Chambers of Commerce and co-chairman of campaign group ‘Leave Means Leave,’ John Longworth, said that Britain’s borders should remain open until British workers can be trained up.
Longworth said: “Why are we recruiting people from continental Europe to do this work?” Before going on to declare that Britain’s youth unemployment rate is “shameful”.
He went on to point out Britain’s history of giving unskilled foreign workers temporary employment, most notably in seasonal agricultural work.
He said: “I don’t think anyone is in the position of saying we should have no foreign labour in the UK, clearly there will be a need for skilled workers for particular roles where it is, in the short term, not possible to provide trained people from the UK indigenous population.”
Mr Longworth favours a UK visa system which requires entry of overseas workers who are sponsored by UK employers. Currently employers need to apply for entry of non EU and non EEA workers under the Tier 2 visa scheme and Tier 2 sponsorship licence scheme. Presumably Mr Longworth wants EU workers to also require an UK employer to gain entry under some sort of new UK visa scheme.
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