Commenting on the Home Secretary’s speech at the conservative party conference, Tim Thomas, Director of Employment and Skills at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said:
“The Home Secretary’s speech on tackling non-EU migration contained a familiar mix of more regulation and numbers-driven policies. The fact is that the current immigration system for the “brightest and best” migrants - who are needed by the UK - is already a costly and burdensome game of snakes and ladders for employers. Further endless changes to regulation will frustrate employers who are simply looking to recruit the best person for the job in the absence of a functional approach from Government to the up-skilling of UK workers.
“UK manufacturers already invest heavily in their domestic workforce - 67% currently offer apprenticeships. Only 9% intend to specifically recruit non-EU nationals to meet their skills needs in the coming years but, importantly, 46% would do so if they were the best person for the job. The suggestion that businesses are not doing enough in this space will anger those employers facing the new UK training tax from next April in the shape of the apprenticeship levy. Many will wonder why the levy money will not be used, firstly, to train UK workers in those skills which we lack and which non-EU migrants are recruited to provide.
“Competition for global talent is fierce, especially in skills-shortage industries such as manufacturing. Instead of preventing employers from recruiting globally, the Government should be opening up the talent pool and putting a stop to the impending changes to highly skilled non-EU migration.”