Letters

This
week’s letters

Skills
database makes sense

I
am fully supportive of your demand for a skills database in your Refugees in
Employment campaign. The provision of skills to meet operational needs is a
fundamental HR task.

Limiting
entry to the database to refugees/foreign nationals is missing an opportunity.
Forget statistics on unemployment, there are thousands of people who are able
to contribute in a variety of ways but who are locked into our benefits system.

Your
proposal must include equality of opportunity to help these people return to
work. This readily accessible source of talent form the target audience for a
number of the skills we so badly need, but appear to be largely forgotten or
discounted.

Nick
Clarke
Via e-mail

PT
campaign is shaping policy  

Personnel
Today is to be congratulated for its support of refugee employment rights.

This
campaign is even more relevant in light of the commitment given by Home
Secretary David Blunkett to review immigration and refugee policy with a view
to creating channels for legitimate economic migration.

Hopefully,
the issues raised in your campaign will be taken into account in the
anticipated new policy and that progress will be made towards integrating
refugees and asylum-seekers into the labour force.

Your
magazine’s involvement in the recent seminar on immigration policy and the
needs of business, organised by the UK Race and Europe Network was timely for
organisations concerned with the development of immigration policy.

Alongside
the commitment of the Home Office to consider the needs of UK employers when
formulating future policy, there is also a pressing need for business groups to
take into account EU developments, particularly in proposed new directives on
freedom of movement for long-term residents, and admission rights for migrant
workers and service providers.

An
agenda is being put together on economic migration issues. The UK Race and
Europe Network seminar has shown that there are good prospects for a
constructive dialogue between business organisations and NGOs in tackling this
important area of policy, and ensuring the interests of migrant workers and
their employers are taken into account in future policy.

Personnel
Today has provided a concrete example of how this might be done in the form of
your refugee campaign.

Don
Flynn
Immigration project co-ordinator    

HE
benefits from permit scheme

I
refer to the news article, "Work permit reform to tackle UK skills
crisis" (News, 9 October) on Blunkett’s aim to allow overseas students who
graduate here to stay while a prospective employer applies for a work permit.

For
those of us in HR in higher education, this is what already happens and in the
case of Southampton University we have little or no difficulty in obtaining
work permits for former students (and visitors) as long as we satisfy the other
criteria specified by the DfEE.

The
old system which required former students to leave the country while a work
permit application was submitted was discontinued some time ago. Certainly from
my point of view the current system is working well and the turnaround time for
applications is the shortest I can remember.

Fraser
Watson
Senior personnel officer

Economy
slump is sidelining HR     

Surely
the trend for outsourcing continues because of the economic climate (Analysis,
9 October). A main driver for change is the pressing need for efficiency gains
which affect the bottom line.

This,
if anything, would accelerate the process, not impede it. The main worry is
that the HR function could slip away from the strategic heart of the
organisation. How long until our accountancy colleagues face the same problem?

Jake
Kydd
Senior lecturer, School of Management Studies, West Suffolk College

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