The government has announced details of the immigration system that is to come into force on 1 January 2021. Reactions were mixed.
Under the plan, people considered ‘low-skilled’ will be unable to come to the UK for work. People who wish to come to the UK to work will be required to speak English and have a job offer with a salary of £25,600 or more, with few exceptions.
Reaction to the proposals have been mixed. The CIPD highlighted that many organisations are unprepared for the new points-based system and will struggle with the cost and bureaucracy involved.
The CIPD’s Senior Labour Market Adviser, Gerwyn Davies, commented: “The new migration restrictions should enable many organisations to continue to meet their skills needs, albeit with more bureaucracy and cost. On the plus side, employers will be particularly relieved to see the government agree to a lower minimum salary threshold of £25,600 and an even lower threshold for shortage occupations.
“However, employers with large numbers of low-paid staff will have real concerns that the new system will worsen existing labour shortages – given the only routes for low skilled migrant labour will be through the dependents of skilled migrants and the Youth Mobility Scheme.
“Another significant concern is that most organisations seem completely unprepared for the bureaucracy and cost of the incoming points-based system. This includes the cost of visas for both recruiting overseas nationals and short-term business visits. Employers therefore need to get up to speed with the new system quickly and adapt their workforce planning strategy accordingly.
“All organisations will also have to ensure they maximise their ability to recruit, train and retain a more diverse UK-born workforce, which will mean investing more in how they manage and develop their people.”
The news comes as ONS labour market figures show a rise in job vacancies for the first time in a year. The Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s JobsOutlook survey showed almost half (49%) of employers expected to find a shortage of workers. Skills shortages are especially severe among lower-paid jobs.
Tom Hadley, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the REC said: “Skills and staff shortages are one of the biggest challenges facing the UK economy. Jobs the government considers ‘low-skilled’ are vital to wellbeing and business growth. The announcement threatens to shut out the people we need to provide services the public rely on. This would increase the likelihood of illegal working and exploitation.”
The Charted Management Institute believes that the UK’s Immigration policy must be partnered with a renewed effort to vastly improve the country’s skills levels.
Ann Francke CEO of The CMI reacting to the Government’s proposal commented. “Changing the UK’s immigration policy must be partnered with a renewed effort to vastly improve the country’s skills levels. That is why CMI is calling on the government to embed employability and management skills development at every level of our education system.
In a recent CMI survey, nearly half of managers (49%) felt that restrictions on freedom of movement of EU workers would have a negative impact on their organisation. The Government clearly has a lot of work to do to bring those businesses on board with the scheme. It should do this by working with industry to ensure the policy will work in practice and ensure that it is accurately communicated to businesses across the UK.
- The REC’s JobsOutlook in January showed almost half (49%) of employers expected to find a shortage of workers for permanent roles.
- According to the ONS, the number of job vacancies increased for the first time in a year to 810,000, up by 7,000 compared to the previous quarter but down by 50,000 compared to the same period last year. The latest ONS labour market stats can be found here.
You can read the CIPD’s press release here.