Saturday, October 31, 2020
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Immigration for work: a car crash in the making

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THANKS to government policies on Covid-19, redundancies and youth unemployment are on an upward trajectory towards the highest level in years. Yet ministers are ploughing on with a disastrous plan to scrap the rule that requires employers to advertise job openings here before they may hire abroad.

This is deeply irresponsible and threatens the prospects of British workers.

A new paper by Migration Watch says it is essential to set a cap on immigration for the main work permit route in the face of rapidly growing unemployment, and calculates that 45,000 is the correct limit to ensure UK workers are given a fair chance to fill any new vacancies.

In these tough times, employers must contribute to the local communities that sustain them by taking on UK workers and investing in UK talent, via better training, wages and working conditions, whenever possible.

 Recent polling clearly shows that:

·         71 per cent of the public want a cap on work permits to be retained (as in Australia) despite government plans to abolish it 

·         Nearly 80 per cent of the public think that government should ensure British workers are brought into work before employers seek more overseas labour.

Without a cap in place – at least until the economic situation is clearer – the numbers could increase very rapidly indeed and be very difficult to bring back under control.

No cap on work permits and no requirement for advertising of jobs in the UK is a gamble that poses a huge threat to the prospects of British workers, at the worst possible time. They have every right to feel betrayed.  

 This is a car crash in the making for the government that will be received badly, especially in the ‘Red Wall’ areas. Ministers need urgently to adjust policies drawn up before the Covid crisis struck.

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

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