Lord Bilimoria urges reform of immigration plans

Why is the well-respected, independent Crossbench peer insisting the UK government scrap the proposed salary threshold for skilled immigrants to the UK?

Houses of Parliament and the Thames at night
The UK government must scrap its proposal for a £30,000 salary threshold for skilled immigrants coming to Britain after Brexit, according to the president-designate of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Cobra beer founder, Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, to become President of the CBI next summer

Indian-born Lord Bilimoria - the Cobra Beer founder and a long-time critic of the UK's immigration system - described the minimum salary requirement as "impractical" if British companies wanted to continue to attract skills from around the world after the nation leaves the European Union on October 31.Lord Bilimoria, who will take over as head of the UK's biggest business organisation next year, told the Sunday Times, "An open economy like Britain has had access to the best talent from around the world, including the European Union. The public sector wouldn’t survive without them: there are 130,000 EU workers in the NHS and care sector alone.

Salary threshold of £30,000: construction and leisure industries will suffer

"In the Indian restaurant sector we have struggled with the immigration rules at the moment, because the restaurants can't bring in the chefs they need."The cross-bench peer, who is opposed to Brexit, said the salary threshold would particularly affect the construction and leisure industries in being able to attract the overseas skills they needed.But he was optimistic Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government would pay attention to businesses' concerns. "I know the government over the years has always listened to the CBI," he said, stressing that he planned to use his personal contacts within the current UK cabinet to fight for businesses. "I want to be able to show that business is not only good in that it creates good jobs, pays the taxes and, for public services, it is also good in what it does for community."

UK government: hostile immigration policies will damage UK industry

Earlier this year, Lord Bilimoria wrote an article for the House Magazine saying the government's "hostile immigration policies" were poised to do untold damage to the UK’s manufacturing industry."With the UK’s departure from the European Union possibly imminent, the government talks about going global and making free trade deals with countries around the world," he wrote.
Related news:
"But the immigration white paper (published last December) does not say 'open Britain'. It says business as usual for this Conservative government – only now without all the benefits that come with being a part of the world’s biggest free trading bloc."Being part of the single market is inextricably linked to freedom of movement, but it seems the government is willing to lose out on all these benefits to forge its own, hostile way.

UK immigration: minimum salary requirement damaging to workers and industry

"The most incredible of the policies laid out in the white paper is that future immigrants must be earning above £30,000 to remain in the country after 12 months. It is baffling that the government is willing to implement such a damaging policy that would see us lose thousands of workers."With the average wage of a manufacturing worker in the UK sitting at £32,500, factory workers just below the threshold will be unable to work in the UK, disrupting production lines and supply chains."But it is not just factory workers who will be turned away by these policies. For higher-paid workers, such as engineers, for whom the threshold is not a problem, the UK still becomes a far less attractive place to work, not to mention study."

For more news, visit our Brexit and United Kingdom sections.

Subscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all the latest international assignments and global mobility news.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory