Business groups give Migration Advisory Committee findings mixed reception

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has given the Migration Advisory Committee’s recent report on the impact of EU migration on the UK a mixed reception.

“This report provides useful insights but is not a roadmap for a new system,” said Matthew Fell, the CBI’s Policy Director.

While the Committee praised the recognition of the benefits that immigration brought to UK society and the economy at large, there were concerns that regarding a lack of details concerning trade negotiations.

“The findings are clear about the immigration dividend,” Fell continued. “Productivity and innovation benefit from migration, and training for UK workers increases. It finds barely any negative effects for jobs or wages for UK citizens

“The critical recommendation missing from the report is that migration should be part of trade negotiations, starting with the EU. The Migration Advisory Committee leaves this decision open to Government and says that it might be ‘something of value to offer in negotiations’. If it is the Government’s intention to implement a global system, preferential access for countries where the UK has trade deals will be essential to provide the basis for an open and controlled system that can work for the UK’s economy.”

Meanwhile, the British Chambers of Commerce also felt that the Migration Advisory Committee’s findings were unlikely to meet the needs of British employers, particularly with regards to low-skilled labour.

“Any sudden cut-off of EEA skills and labour would be concerning, if not disastrous, for firms across a wide range of regions and sectors,” said Jane Gratton, head of business environment and skills policy at the British Chambers of Commerce.

“We support the recommendation to scrap the Tier 2 cap on skilled workers, having long called on the government to drop this nonsensical restriction on accessing the best talent from around the world. But businesses don’t just need the ‘best and brightest’ – industries such as agriculture, hospitality and social care rely on overseas labour to fill local shortages.”

Article published 21st September 2018