British business this week called for urgent changes to the UK immigration rules as job vacancies hit a 1.2 million high.
Tony Danker, Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) told its Birmingham conference that employers were struggling to fill jobs and that vacancies would not fill themselves. He named immigration as one of the biggest obstacles to growth and called on the UK government to create business friendly immigration policies which would help ease the shortage of workers crisis.
Sectors including health, hospitality, retail, and the car and airline industries are continuing to suffer from a shortage of workers caused by both Brexit and the pandemic. Recruitment into roles across the board, many of which were historically carried out by EU workers, remains worryingly slow.
Mr. Danker told the confederation, which represents some 190,000 businesses across the UK, that the government had to take action and change UK immigration policy to serve British business in the longer term. The confederation’s call for action coincides with a recent report from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) which stated that Brexit had contributed to reducing trade volumes and business relationships between UK and EU firms and had severely damaged the growth of the UK economy.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has for the moment ruled out a Swiss-style deal with the EU which could lead to the UK’s access to the EU single market, and also refused to ease the UK’s stringent immigration policy. However the wider debate on immigration and the needs of British industry is hotting up as all corners of the country are waking up to the reality that there are not enough workers to fill both skilled and low skilled roles.
With the cost of living crisis adding further pressure to the situation, a business friendly immigration policy which paves the way for EU workers to access the UK job market could be the answer.
The ball is in the UK government’s court to address the crisis and political quandary to help British business find the skills and workers they need.
For immigration advice on how to sponsor international talent to work in the UK, please contact our Immigration Team.
The material contained in this article is provided for general purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice. Appropriate legal advice should be sought for specific circumstances and before action is taken.
© Miller Rosenfalck LLP, November 2022