Dyson calls for immigration reform to bolster engineering

Sir James Dyson, industrial designer and founder of the company that shares his name, has stressed the importance of keeping foreign engineers in the UK to strengthen exports while making an announcement that could mean up to 3,000 new jobs.

The comments were made to the BBC's Today program as his company announced a £1.5 billion investment programme to back the launch of 100 new products. The programme will include funding for a campus at the company's UK headquarters in Malmesbury which will create up to 3,000 jobs. Speaking to the BBC, he said that a large number of engineers come to the UK to study, and added that, "One important thing we should do is to keep those engineers in Britain. A lot of them come from overseas, in fact, 90% of researchers at British universities come from overseas, and we must encourage them to stay here." "I would change our immigration laws to allow the right sort of people to stay here," he added. Dyson invests around a third of its profits into R&D and employs 2,000 engineers, around half of whom are based in the UK. Dyson also said that he doesn't particularly want to remain part of the EU. "I think it's a European Union dominated by Germany, and in our particular field we have these very large German companies who dominate standards setting and energy reduction committees, and so we get the old guard and old technology supported and not new technology." He did say that he wants European free trade and the free movement of people to continue, however. Dyson will spend around £1 billion of its funds on research and development for new products. A further £200 million will be spent on driving expansion into Asia, while £50 million will be spent on research programmes with British universities. Announcing the investment programme, Sir James said, "Our growth is fuelled by technology and we are thinking long-term. About 90 per cent of our technology is sold abroad, we’re quickly growing across Asia, and it’s phenomenal to think we are now number one in the home of technology – Japan. It is like selling coal to Newcastle. "But we must relentlessly invent – that’s why we are investing in our research footprint here in the UK and investing in our manufacturing capabilities in South-East Asia." Prime Minister David Cameron said, "Dyson is a great British success story and the expansion of the Malmesbury campus will create thousands of new jobs, providing a real boost to the local economy and financial security for more hardworking families. Investment on this scale shows confidence in our long-term economic plan to back business, create more jobs and secure a brighter future for Britain."

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