Commenting on the reports of a new system of migration, Tim Thomas, Director of Employment & Skills at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said:
“The proposals represent a mixed bag. On the highly skilled side, the system described is one we can work with, after some changes. But, we would have grave concerns that at lower skill levels accessing EU workers will be on a completely different basis going forward.
“As a result the question, currently unanswered, is whether workers other than the highly-skilled, will still want to come to the UK on the basis there’s no family reunion, no pathway to ever settling here, and where their stay is limited to two years.
“With many UK manufacturers telling us that they simply don’t get jobs applications from prospective UK workers, EU workers comprise an essential part of the UK labour market. Government must now work with and consult employers to devise a new migration system which balances future immigration rules with the needs of UK businesses.”
A recent EEF survey showed:
- A quarter of manufacturers have seen a decrease in applications from EU nationals
- 16% of manufacturers have seen an increase in EU nationals leaving their business
- Two thirds of manufacturers recruit EU nationals due to insufficient UK applicants
- A third recruit EU nationals because skills not available in the UK
- Three quarter of manufacturers already struggling to fill roles
- EU nationals make up 11% of manufacturing workforce