The View: Leading the Industry

An evidenced-based immigration system is vital for jobs growth, says Kevin Green, REC chief executive

 

It’s now getting serious: the government is starting to pull together a plan for the post-Brexit immigration system. The REC has argued since the referendum that we need a thoughtful and balanced approach to policy, which recognises the requirements of business.

We understand the political imperative to demonstrate control of our boarders. However, we think that the British public deserve a more nuanced debate that recognises the need for more not less immigration over the coming decade.

The UK jobs market is already very tight, and employers across the board are facing labour, skill and talent shortages. It’s clear that the demographics mean we will have less people of working age in our labour market in the next 10 years, so if our economy continues to grow, employers are going to find it increasingly difficult to fill their vacancies. This means that business and public services will either move work overseas or increase automation.

In the REC’s latest report, ‘Building the post-Brexit immigration system’ (rec.uk.com/brexit) we make 21 recommendations to government to help alleviate the skills crisis, including:

  • Give EU workers currently in the UK the right to stay and work
  • Any policies which will reduce access to talent and labour from the EU should be phased in so that businesses can prepare
  • Base the new immigration system on evidence provided by the Migration Advisory Committee and other objective bodies, following a detailed assessment of businesses needs in different sectors and regions
  • Make sure the new immigration system is easy and quick for business.

The REC is working tirelessly on behalf of our members to influence the approach to immigration after we leave the EU. However, we need your help – we want members to contact and meet their local MPs to help get the message across. We have data you can reference, template letters you can use, and where possible we will attend meetings with you. We’d also like members to link us up with local business bodies so we can provide data and align messages. Recruiters are on the front line of the jobs market – let’s make our voice heard in this important debate.

I will resume my tour of the UK in August – join us in Newcastle and Aberdeen. I’ll also be hosting a webinar on the 15th, members can sign up at rec.uk.com/webinars

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