Saturday, 2 Mar 2024

POLL – Should UK relax immigration rules amid skills shortage?

Brexit voters ‘much less confident’ in benefits says Curtice

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The UK is facing a shortfall of more than 300,000 workers due in part to Brexit ending the free movement of labour with the European Union. But do you think Prime Minister Rishi Sunak should relax immigration rules to narrow the skills shortage facing Britain? Vote in our poll.

The research by the UK in a Changing Europe and the Centre for European Reform think tanks show that post-Brexit the UK economy is suffering from labour shortages in lower-skilled sectors, including logistics, construction and hospitality, with the lack of free movement “contributing significantly” to this. The research found that by June 2022, the nation had experienced a net loss of around 330,000 workers, equivalent to one percent of the UK workforce.

Co-author of the report, Jonathan Portes, professor of economics and public policy at King’s College, London, said that the shift in migration patterns was “a feature, not a bug”. He added: “The longer-term impact on the UK labour market will be profound.”

Jane Gratton, head of people policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, has called for the Home Office to reform the shortage occupations list. She said: “Politicians need to be realistic about the skills we need from outside the UK. Brexit has given us control of our borders and the Government must use the appropriate levers to help struggling businesses get the people they need.”

Work and pensions Secretary Mel Stride told The House magazine this month that relaxing rules for foreign workers was a “relatively quick and easy lever to pull” to tackle the skills shortage, but did not believe this was the correct solution to the problem in the long run.

The Home Office said last month: “The public rightly expects us to control immigration, which is why our points-based system delivers for the whole of the UK by balancing prioritising the skills and talent the UK needs with encouraging long-term investment in the domestic workforce. We have expanded the skilled worker route to include medium-skilled jobs and it now covers 60 per cent of jobs in the economy.”

So what do YOU think? Should the UK relax immigration rules as Britain hit by skills shortage? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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