Is the UK giving up on training our own butchers, bakers and IT technicians?

October 01, 2020

  • Unlimited inflows of foreign skills will compete with British workers and undercut their training prospects 
  • The changes add to risks of UK employees being displaced or undercut during a downturn
    • The government's immigration policy will open up the jobs of three million UK-born workers - including butchers, bakers, IT technicians, tailors and welders - to unlimited global recruitment at a time of deep concern about the prospect of higher unemployment. 

      Migration Watch UK is releasing a summary of three million full-time jobs held by UK-born workers in 150 occupational bands that are being exposed.

      This comes just after the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) recommended a major increase - from 2.5 million to 4 million - in the number of jobs into which non-UK workers may be recruited at lower salary levels as a result of being on a Shortage Occupation List.

      Tellingly the MAC noted of employers: “Whilst respondents reported using a range of techniques to fill vacancies, recruiting non-UK nationals was both the most commonly-stated solution to overcoming vacancies." 

      It is shocking that the government is ploughing ahead with a plan that was first conceived before the Covid virus struck, even as UK unemployment shoots up, as companies collapse and as lay-offs continue to be announced. 

      Their plan flies directly in the face of public opinion - over 70% of UK people want there to be a cap on work permits, while nearly 80% say that they want the focus to be on getting UK people back to work – not on overseas hiring (Deltapoll, late 2019 and mid-2020). 

      By about two to one, the public say that lowering skills and salary requirements for work permits is a bad move (Deltapoll, August 2020).  

      About seven million full-time jobs held by UK-born workers in a total of 250 occupational bands that are set to be exposed to either new or greater global competition, including around four million UK-born workers in 100 highly-skilled occupations which are set to face greater pressure due to the cap being removed.

      Previous MAC warnings about the failure of British employers to invest in the training of British workers have fallen on deaf ears. 

      For instance, doctors and nurses were removed from the work permit cap in 2018 even as tens of thousands of UK applicants for the courses were being rejected (UCAS). 

      Alp Mehmet, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said: 
      The exposure of millions of UK jobs to global recruitment in present circumstances risks seriously hurting British workers. As companies collapse, giving British workers a fair chance to apply for jobs in the UK must be the urgent need of the hour.

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