28/02/12

Commenting on the Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) recommendation that the migration cap for skilled workers be left unchanged, Adam Marshall, Director of Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“Business will be relieved to see the Committee heeded our call for some overdue stability in migration policy. After innumerable rule changes and consultations, business now needs the government to leave both the cap and the system alone.

“The current modest cap means Tier 2 workers account for less than five percent of immigrants. Lowering the limit would have little effect on net migration, but could pose a risk to future economic growth and damage Britain’s reputation as a place to invest and do business.

“Skilled workers come here to contribute. Britain must work hard to attract global talent if we want to remain a competitive and prosperous nation. The government has to make it clear that it welcomes the best international talent here in the UK. If skilled individuals think Britain doesn't want their talent and ability, they will go to our global competitors, who have made their interest very clear.”

On intra-company transfers (ICTs):

“Intra-company transfers are essential to how multinational businesses operate.  The Committee is right to advise that the ICT system should be left unchanged so as not to deter branches or headquarters from being established here in the UK.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

The MAC Report states:

72. Given that the limit is currently heavily under-subscribed, it would need to be cut substantially in order to be certain of there being any impact on net migration. On the basis of partner evidence, there is a risk that a cut in the limit of such a magnitude would be economically damaging in terms of promoting the UK as an attractive place to invest and do business. The reduction in the numbers would also reduce tax revenues from Tier 2 migrants, who tend to be relatively highly paid. In addition, there is limited data so far available to allow us to reliably assess the impact of policy changes that have already been made. Therefore, we believe that the limit should stay at its current level of 20,700.

78. Tier 2 only accounts for a small proportion of net migration. Further changes to that tier can only make a limited contribution towards reducing net migration to the “tens of thousands?.

Intra company transfers are for multinational companies being transferred to a UK based branch of the same organisation either on a long-term basis or for short visits.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is the national voice of local business.

The BCC sits at the heart of a powerful nationwide network of Accredited Chambers of Commerce, serving over 100,000 businesses across the UK, which employ over five million people. For more information visit: http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/

Media contacts:

Liz Larvin
Tel: 020 7654 5813 / 07825746812
Email: l.larvin@britishchambers.org.uk

Lisa Morrison
Tel: 020 7654 5812 / 07717682221
Email: l.morrison@britishchambers.org.uk