The CBI has welcomed the Government’s announcement of a new points-based immigration system which it says will help companies recruit the best talent from around the globe.
However, the business lobby group warned that business must be consulted on its implementation and the government must police the system and not expect employers to it.
The new immigration system is designed to ensure that only those who benefit the UK can come here to work or study.
The plan will consolidate more than 80 existing work and study routes into five tiers:
Tier 1 – highly skilled, (eg, scientists or entrepreneurs)
Tier 2 – skilled workers with a job offer, (eg, nurses, teachers, engineers)
Tier 3 – low-skilled workers filling specific temporary labour shortages, (eg, construction workers for a particular project)
Tier 4 – students
Tier 5 – youth mobility and temporary workers, (eg, working holidaymakers or musicians coming to play a concert).
Points will be awarded to reflect aptitude, experience and age, and consideration will be given to the level of need in any given sector to allow the UK to respond flexibly to changes in the labour market.
Susan Anderson, CBI director of HR policy, said an objective points-based system would be an improvement on the existing “overly-complicated” process.
“Employers need a system which is transparent, consistent and provides quick decisions for companies seeking to bring in highly skilled workers essential to business competitiveness,” she said. “It is essential the government consults further with business to ensure that bona fide applicants are not turned away.
“Equally, employers have a role to check their staff can legally work in the UK,” she added. “But they cannot be expected to act as immigration officials – this is a responsibility the government must bear.”