Two organisations warn over curbs on recruiting foreign skills

A Brexit deal will not “be worth the paper it’s written on” if it results in UK companies being unable to recruit the skills they need from across the world, according to the BCC.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said that not only must the status in the UK of expats from other EU countries be protected in Brexit negotiations, but that the government must devise an immigration system that was responsive to the skills needs of British companies.In a report, the BCC said June’s general election should not be just about the UK’s stance on Brexit negotiations but about policies on supporting economic growth by improving both competitiveness and the country’s physical and digital infrastructure.

Access to the “right” people

Dr Adam Marshall, director-general of the BCC, said, “While businesses all across the UK want a good Brexit deal, they are very clear that decisions taken here at home matter as much, if not more, to our future growth prospects.“The best possible Brexit deal won’t be worth the paper it’s written on if firms cannot recruit and train the right people, get decent digital connectivity or get their goods to their market.“At this election, business communities want a clear commitment from all parties to create the best possible conditions for growth, in every region and nation of the UK.“Westminster must stop and reverse the relentless increases in the up-front cost of doing business in Britain, and give firms the confidence to drive investment, job growth and exports through the Brexit transition and beyond.”
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Access to overseas workers crucial

Meanwhile, a report from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has warned that political parties’ election promises on housebuilding and infrastructure projects would be worthless unless the construction industry continued to be able to recruit skilled workers from overseas.Such workers were crucial to the industry, said the FMB, pointing out that, in London alone, more than half the construction industry’s workforce was made up of non-UK nationals.Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said, “The UK construction sector’s demand for skilled migrant workers from the EU and beyond cannot be overstated.“Pre-Brexit, 60 per cent of small construction firms are already having trouble hiring bricklayers and that’s before the UK abandons the free movement of people.“If the next government implements an inflexible immigration system that hinders the ability of talented foreign construction workers from making their way to the UK, any manifesto pledges relating to the delivery of housing and infrastructure will be rendered meaningless.”Get access to our free Global Mobility Toolkit

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