The government might have the excuse it needs to bottle its immigration cap promise?

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This month sees the Migration Advisory Committee publish its much anticipated report on the proposed immigration cap in the UK, which could influence the government's decision on the permanent cap that will replace the current temporary one.

 

We should get the debate going in anticipation of the MAC report and the government decision that follows it.

 

I thought the big debate is whether intra company transfers (ICTs) will be included in the permanent cap or not. They do after all account for a massive number of non EU IT workers in the UK.

 

But the real debate could be whether the government gets rid of the cap or raises it to allow more immigrant workers into the UK.

 

Maybe the government has an opportunity to pull out of its pre-election commitment. Mark Lewis, a lawyer specialising in outsourcing at Berwin Leighton Paisner, said reaction to the cap from big business has been negative and could influence the government's decision. Or the government might just raise the cap significantly.

 

This is what Mark Lewis said:

 

"Having announced that they would introduce a quota of highly skilled workers from outside the EU, the government introduced a seemingly low interim quota. It is now facing a backlash from UK industry.

 

"They could use the backlash and say they have listened to concerns and either remove the cap or increase it.

 

"This could be a way out for the government. It could be a clever way of getting out of a pre-election commitment to the quota."

 

I must say the promised cap did scream of electioneering. Labour was against the cap as were the Liberals and the whole idea of the cap seems very un-Torylike to me. 

 

 There has been a lot in the news recently about the immigration cap. We have had government minister Vince Cable come out and say it is a mistake. And then you have a Sunday Express opinion poll revealing that 51% of people believe that controlling immigration is the most important issue facing the country after the economy. Lots of Tory voters in that sample.

 

There was also a 5 Live broadcast about ICTs last week.

 

The issue is particularly relevant in the IT sector because thousands of workers come to the UK every year to work on IT projects.

 

See this article for the facts and figures about immigrant labour in the UK.

 

Another contact of mines thinks the government might fudge the whole issue.

 

"The easiest fudge to the figures is to make ICT visas last 364 days. They would then disappear off the Long Term International Migration figures.
One of the loopholes in the current cap is that 'in country transfers' to tier 1 general visas are not capped. This loophole is likely to be closed in some way.
Neither of these are likely to be particularly helpful for UK IT workers, but they will help achieve the government's target."


 

4 Comments

The cap was electionering, but, for good or bad, they have to stick with it or lose credibility.

The interim cap on tier 2 was distributed in an arbitrary way, but redistributing the allocations per company is going to be difficult.

They did cut tier 2 certificates of sponsorship by 1300 compared with the same period last year and they might get away with distributing those. It might also provide a way to test some revenue raising models e.g. charge £10k per certificate to gauge the true demand.

The big question is how things look with the real cap and what changes will come with that. MP Nick Boles has recently suggested that migrants should pay a £5k surety that they would get back after paying a certain amount of tax. That would probably not affect high paid migrants, but would damage the economic model used for intra company transfer IT workers.

Big business will have it's way in the end, seeing a young UK person employed in IT is already becoming a rarity, within the next ten years IT will become something else that we "don't do any more", certainly in terms of the skilled technical roles.

The debate is entirely around "what business needs" (usually costs as low as possible with profits as high as possible), nothing around whats best for the countries long term sustainability, (keeping as many people as possible employed, and paying taxes to fund our infrastructure, and feeling able to buy products).

I can foresee a very painful economic crash in the UK and USA if this situation continues.

Big business is the driving force behind most of the post war immigration into the UK. It started in the 1950s with textile factory workers and has now moved onto IT workers and software developers.

Something the government cannot afford to ignore is the BNP and that the last election results were actually quite good after factoring out a few disappointments here and there. They show that support for the party is rising across the nation. The BNP has moved from being a fringe party with approx 300 members in 1997 into the second largest small party in England with approx 12,000 members during the 13 years Labour was in power.

Of course, David Cameron might blame the uprising of the BNP on Labour, but if the Conservative government fails to clamp down hard on immigration then expect to see the rise in support for the BNP continuing.

It started in the 1950s with textile factory workers

.. and we know what happened back then, the factories closed and moved to where the immigrants came from, but the immigrants stayed and are now causing huge problems.

This is a perfect example to illustrate the idiocy of importing workers, particularly when so many British workers are unable to find work.

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This page contains a single entry by Karl Flinders published on October 4, 2010 11:12 AM.

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