October 16, 2018
The government could be on the verge of a disastrous post-Brexit immigration policy
It would be disastrous if the Government’s new immigration policy were to adopt the recently published Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) proposals.
That is the verdict of a study (MW456: Likely consequences of the MAC's immigration policy) being published by Migration Watch UK.
The outcome of implementing the MAC recommendations would be to expose seven million jobs in Britain to new or increased competition from a huge global pool of labour with no limits on the numbers granted work permits and no requirement to show that a British worker is not available.
The main remaining requirement would be a salary of £30,000 a year despite the MAC themselves having themselves pointed out that salary levels can be manipulated.
The impact of such a system would be huge. Loosening the skill requirement for for work permits from degree level to A-level would mean that ten million full-time jobs could be involved – five million highly-skilled jobs and five million jobs that are below university graduate level.
All highly-skilled posts would be subject to increased competition as there would now be no cap on numbers.Of the five million or so below graduate-level jobs, two million are currently paid at or over £30,000 a year and so would also be directly affected. If there are changes to the salary limit or if salaries were to be manipulated, the number of jobs that could be affected could still exceed seven million.
The abolition of the requirement that employers must show that no British candidate is available prior to hiring from abroad would make it much simpler to bring in cheaper workers, or perhaps more experienced workers, at a lower salary than the equivalent British worker would expect.
The MAC themselves have pointed to academic research which found a strong preference among some employers for migrant workers and a ‘prejudice’ against UK workers.
Immigration is not, however, only about salaries. This work permit would be a route to settlement in the UK which would be a major non-financial incentive. It is also important to note that the immigrant communities already in the UK, who number over nine million, would gain a possible route for their relatives of which they would certainly wish to take advantage.
This scheme might be fine for employers who would be able to recruit a massive number of skilled and semi-skilled workers from overseas. However, it would be seriously detrimental to the future prospects for training British workers and therefore to the country as a whole.
The Conservative Party press release of 2 October, which outlined the Government’s plan, claimed that ‘crucially it will be fair to ordinary working people’. That is almost the reverse of the truth.
Commenting, Lord Green of Deddington, Chairman of Migration UK said:
Expanding work permits to the semi-skilled and to the whole world risks a massive increase in immigration which is the exact opposite of what the public wish to see. Accepting these recommendations as they stand would be a disaster for immigration policy. We have seen how Labour allowed immigration to treble in a couple of years. The Conservatives should learn from that and start with an annual cap on the number of workers that are admitted to the UK.