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BCC: immigration proposals could leave UK businesses with their ‘hands tied’

Commenting on the publication of the government’s Immigration White Paper, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“While these proposals are not quite as bad as we had originally feared, it’s no secret that companies across the UK are sceptical about whether the government’s approach will actually deliver on their practical, real-world concerns.

“From Cornwall to Inverness, from Northern Ireland to Norfolk, employers are hugely concerned that the complexity and cost associated with new immigration rules will impact their ability to invest and grow at a time when many areas are facing near-full employment.

“The government is giving with one hand, and taking away with the other. More flexibility on skill levels is positive, but this is offset by the wider application of immigration charges to both employers and applicants alike.

“The consultation ahead must result in a system that delivers on business needs in all regions and nations of the UK. Ministers have one last chance not just to listen, but to genuinely hear and act on the concerns that businesses have about their proposals. The arbitrary salary threshold must come down to reflect real-world conditions in different parts of the UK, and the government must ensure that the proposed temporary worker scheme actually functions both for companies and potential recruits.

“In the face of major change over the years ahead, the immigration system must not leave UK businesses with their hands tied – or the government will cause active damage to jobs, communities, investment and the economy.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

On Friday December 14th BCC wrote to members of the Cabinet and the Prime Minister,setting out detailed concerns of members in relation to the growing skills shortage and how changes to immigration post-Brexit may exacerbate this situation.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) sits at the heart of a powerful network of 53 Accredited Chambers of Commerce across the UK, representing thousands of businesses of all sizes and within all sectors. Our Global Business Network connects exporters with nearly 40 markets around the world. For more information, visit: www.britishchambers.org.uk

Media contacts:

Allan Williams – Head of Press and Communications

020 7654 5812 / 07920583381

Orla Hennessy – Press and Communications Manager

020 7654 5813 / 07825746812

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