Saturday, October 24, 2020
Home COVID-19 As Covid destroys our jobs, foreign workers get the welcome mat

As Covid destroys our jobs, foreign workers get the welcome mat

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ARE we giving up on training our own butchers, bakers and IT technicians? The government’s immigration policy will open up the jobs of three million UK-born workers in 150 occupations to unlimited global recruitment at a time of deep concern about the prospect of higher unemployment.

Other jobs on the list released by Migration Watch UK are tailors and welders.

This comes just after the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) recommended a major increase – from 2.5million to 4million – in the number of jobs into which non-UK workers may be recruited at lower salary levels as a result of being on a Shortage Occupation List.

Tellingly, the MAC noted of employers: ’Whilst respondents reported using a range of techniques to fill vacancies, recruiting non-UK nationals was the most commonly-stated solution to overcoming vacancies.’ 

This behaviour by employers is ridiculous in light of previous MAC advice from 2018 which stated: ‘Individual employers would almost always be able to recruit resident workers if they paid wages sufficiently above the going rate.’

It is shocking that the government is ploughing ahead with a plan that was first conceived before the Covid virus struck, even as UK unemployment shoots up, as companies collapse and as lay-offs continue to be announced. 

The plan flies directly in the face of public opinion – more than

70 per cent of UK people want there to be a cap on work permits, while nearly 80 per cent say that they want the focus to be on getting UK people back to work, not on overseas hiring (Deltapoll, late 2019 and mid-2020). 

By about two to one, the public say that lowering skills and salary requirements for work permits is a bad move (Deltapoll, August 2020).  

About seven million full-time jobs held by UK-born workers in a total of 250 occupational bands are set to be exposed to either new or greater global competition, including around four million UK-born workers in 100 highly-skilled occupations which are set to face greater pressure due to the cap being removed.

Previous MAC warnings about the failure of British employers to invest in the training of British workers have fallen on deaf ears. 

For instance, doctors and nurses were removed from the work permit cap in 2018 even as tens of thousands of UK applicants for the courses were being rejected (UCAS). 

The exposure of millions of UK jobs to global recruitment in present circumstances risks seriously hurting British workers. As companies collapse, giving British workers a fair chance to apply for jobs in the UK must be the urgent need of the hour.

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Alp Mehmet
Alp Mehmet
Chairman of Migration Watch UK, former British diplomat.

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