2 October 2018

  |  CBI Press Team

Press release

Response to Prime Minister's immigration proposals

The CBI has responded to plans for a new post-Brexit immigration system set out by the Prime Minister.

Response to Prime Minister's immigration proposals

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:

“Freedom of movement is ending and firms understand that. But the Prime Minister’s proposals for a new system have taken a wrong turn. By dismissing the importance of low skilled workers to the UK economy, the government risks harming businesses and living standards now and in the future.

“All skill levels matter to the UK economy. Today’s proposals risk worsening labour shortages, already serious in construction, hospitality and care. Restricting access to the workers the UK needs is self-defeating.

“Just weeks ago the Migration Advisory Committee confirmed that EU workers – at all skill levels – pay in more than they take out. They have not reduced jobs, wages or training for UK workers.

 “The signals on people and trade deals are disappointing. Though mobility will be part of negotiations, this is not enough. To secure the best deals around the world the UK must be willing to put migration on the table – starting with the EU, our most significant trading partner.

“It is also disappointing that the biggest flaw of the UKs current system – the net migration target – will remain. This target means that every day workers with skills the UK needs are turned away and jobs left unfilled. Employers all over the UK will continue to urge its abolition to show the world Britain means business.

 “Whatever the White Paper says, firms of all sizes and sectors will need enough time – at least two years from the moment of change - to adjust to the new system.”