The Government’s announcement today about yet more changes to Immigration Rules is in part indicative of their failing policies.
The Government’s commitment to reducing net migration has led them into a series of measures which are damaging the economy, a fact which is now being widely acknowledged. A fact which is becoming all too evident! Be its impact on Higher Education or in the Labour Market, the Government’s arbitrary attempt to cap migration threatens the viability of some of our universities and denies employers access to skilled workers they can not get in the resident labour market.
The announcement that migrant workers entering the UK as Intra-Company Transfers, earning over £150,000, will be able to stay for nine years rather than five, is the wrong way to address the problem. The TUC believes that there is already too heavy a usage of Intra-Company Transfers by employers. Employers bringing in Intra-Company Transferees do not, of course, have to show that they could not recruit people with the requires skills and knowledge from the resident labour market. Intra-Company Transfers were always justified on the basis that companies can not always recruit people locally not just with a set of generic skills but who also had an important understanding of the company based upon an existing employment relationship, who are needed to carry-out a task in a short time-scale. Nine years is not a short timescale!
The solution to the economic problems created by the cap is not to further pervert the notion of Intra-Company Transfers – which if properly used are a valuable part of a sensible immigration system rather than a means of substitutionism. It does not lie in reactive piecemeal measures.The solution is to totally revisit the very notion of the cap and to ensure the immigration rules fit the needs of the economy whilst offering adequate protection to those already in the labour market.
The Governments policies are not just creating short term problems. There are strong indications that the message has gone beyond Europe, that you are not welcome and there are those who would normally be attracted to our universities and labour market who are looking elsewhere. It will take sometime and a considerable effort to reverse this negative impression!
A sensible immigration policy will not of itself deliver the economic growth and jobs we need but it is a part of the solution.