IoD: ‘Business leaders back evidence-based immigration policy, but concerns remain’

Responding to the publication of the Migration Advisory Committee’s report on EEA Migration in the UK, Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:

“Today’s report rightly punctures some of the more negative stories around the impact of overseas workers in the UK. The conclusion in particular that migration does not impact the training of the UK-born workforce bears out the evidence from business leaders. For employers, this isn’t an either-or choice, nine out of ten of our members who employ from abroad also invest in training domestically.

“Small- and medium-sized firms will also be concerned that it does not go far enough in addressing the issues faced by all but the largest businesses. As an example, salary thresholds, whilst they are clear benchmarks, do not necessarily take into account the interests of new and growing businesses – many of which offer wider incentives other than high salaries for skilled new staff.

“Finally, concerns around the quality of available data regularly feature throughout this report. Questions around haphazard data-keeping on the level and impact of migration have dogged UK policy makers for some time. We wholeheartedly endorse recommendations to improve monitoring, particularly in an arena of policy so often caught between political messaging and raw economic need.”

On implications for the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU, Stephen Martin added:

“With the MAC’s review now complete, the ball is firmly in the Government’s court. The reality is that these recommendations cannot be considered without one eye on our future relationship with the EU. We strongly urge the Government to prioritise a reciprocal preferential agreement with the EU on movement of people and labour, reflecting the unavoidable realities of close geography and integrated supply chains.”