Employers urged to shape new migration legislation

Employers are being urged to make full use of the government’s consultation on proposed changes to immigration laws to ensure the system works for them.

A major overhaul of migration routes into the UK began last week when the government launched a 16-week consultation into new legislation aimed at shoring up immigration procedures while tackling skills gaps.

The proposed five-tier system will have a major impact on UK employers who are increasingly looking abroad to fill skills gaps. One in four look for talent outside the UK, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Under the new points-based system, workers will be graded on their skills, and this will affect the type of visa they are entitled to and the length of their stay in the UK.

John Philpott, chief economist at the CIPD, said the new scheme would be a vast improvement on the current system, under which there are about 50 different ways for migrants to enter the UK.

“[The new system] will enable us to calibrate the inflow of migrants towards the kind of workers that are in the best interests of the country,” he said.

But John Cridland, CBI deputy director general, raised concerns that the system would be too onerous on employers who use low-skilled workers. He said that labour from Eastern European succession states, who are not covered by the immigration plans, might not be sufficient to meet demand and the points system would make it difficult to fill holes.

Cridland also criticised plans to make employers pay some low-skilled workers’ wages into bank accounts in their home countries in a bid to ensure they return once their visas expire. “The bond system is not appropriate,” he said. “This is a job for the immigration service – not a reasonable demand to put on employers.”

Paul Pagliari, senior director, HR, at the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, was closely involved in the formulation of the new plans. He said the system was based on shared responsibility and the bond issue was “as legitimate a proposal as any of the others”.

He urged employers to get involved in the consultation to make sure plans were properly considered and prioritised to best help UK business.

The Employability Forum, which advises the government on best practice in migration, said employers needed to get involved to drive public support for the system.

For more detail on the proposed plans go to www.personneltoday.com/30864.article

For the full consultation document go to www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk


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