Birmingham Chamber of Commerce calls for workforce development

Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the government to develop the future and current workforce, instead of using ‘quick fixes’ such as immigrant employees to fill vacancies.

The Chamber was responding to a consultation from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), and warned that recruitment and employment issues were business decisions for employers to take, not for government officials to decide on behalf of the business community.

The MAC was set up late last year to provide evidence to ministers about where the economy needs migration and where it does not.

The MAC will publish a list highlighting which occupations can be sensibly filled by enabling employers to recruit migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), in June.

The Chamber argues that where vacancies cannot be filled locally then the government should support businesses to recruit from abroad.

Kiran Virk, policy adviser at the Chamber, said the government should continue to focus on long-term planning to reduce the number of labour shortages, rather than short-term solutions.

“Producing lists of shortages would help to meet the immediate needs of businesses but it is far more important and more sustainable for the local and national economy, if a greater emphasis is placed on developing and nurturing the indigenous population through a strong sense of life-long learning,” Virk said.

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