Keeping London at the forefront of global business
working with and for the whole UK
Response to Immigration White Paper
19 December 2018
Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of business group, London First, said: “A single, global immigration system, which does away with pointless caps and quotas, is good for business and the economy — employers want to be able to hire the right person for the job, regardless of where they’re from.
“The Government has heard business’s concerns that the £30k salary threshold for skilled workers will not work. Now it needs to act. If £30k was applied across the board, nearly half the people employed in London wouldn’t be working here. We’re calling for the salary threshold to be loweredto match the London Living Wage of £20,155. That would keep the UK open to a range of skills, ensure workers are decently paid and could adjust over time as more British workers are trained up to plug skills shortages.
“It is critical employers have enough time to adapt to any changes to avoid a recruitment cliff-edge. The Government must also ensure data on the numbers of people coming in and out is accurate to help restore public confidence in the system, given the huge contribution immigration makes to our economy.”
On scrapping the cap on skilled workers
“Scrapping the cap on skilled worker visas removes a major barrier which has prevented employers from recruiting the people they need for too long – this is a clear win for business, but needs to go hand in hand with lowering the £30k salary threshold to bring it in line with the London Living Wage of £20,155.
On the shortage occupation list:
“The Government has heeded our call to review the shortage occupation list to make it more responsive to the needs of the economy.This should be aligned with the UK’s Industrial Strategy with a clear focus on growing the sectors where the UK wants to grow.
On international students:
“London is home to more world-class universities than any other city and international students make a huge contribution to their local economies and communities. The Government is right to propose to make it easier for students to work after their studies, but a six-month extension is not long enough and the UK will miss out on vital expertise. We want to see a proper post-study work visa to ensure we retain global brainpower.
On modernising the system:
“We’ve called for a simple and streamlined system that makes full use of the latest technology to ensure it’s user-friendly, so we welcome the move towards greater data sharing between government departments, which should lead to shorter visa processing times and save employers time and money.”
On the net migration target:
“We welcome the Government’s decision to move from an arbitrary net migration target, which we have long argued should be abolished, toward a measure of sustainable migration; although of course the devil will be in the detail of how this policy is applied.
Read our pro-growth immigration approach Global Britain: a fair and managed immigration system fit for the post-Brexit economy.
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