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The dangers of cutting off global talent supplies

During Prime Minister’s Questions David Cameron unveiled measures to “significantly reduce” the scale of UK migration from outside the EU.

Mr Cameron proposed new restrictions on work visas, and a higher salary threshold before people are allowed into the UK.

The Prime Minister told MPs: “In the past it has been frankly too easy for some businesses to bring in workers from overseas rather than to take the long term decision to train our workforce here at home.”

Responding to Mr Cameron’s comments, Mark Hilton, Head of Immigration Policy at London First, said:

“Businesses want to work with government to make sure British people have the skills the country needs. But we can’t just magic them from nowhere.

“It takes time to train the engineers, IT workers, and so on, that we are missing, and often we are missing them because new opportunities come up that can’t always be planned for.

“Cutting off the supply of global talent is short-sighted and won’t get British people into jobs – it will just hit economic growth, which boosts British jobs.”

The advisory committee would consider:

  • Restricting work visas to “genuine skill shortages and specialists”
  • Putting a time limit on how long a sector can claim to have a skills shortage
  • A new “skills levy” on businesses who recruit foreign workers, to be spent on UK apprenticeships
  • Increasing the salary threshold for a skilled worker’s visa

Read more about our work on visas

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