Government must not restrict supply of legitimate migrant workers

The initial success of the Government’s worker registration scheme to combat illegal migrant workers is welcome, but the Government should beware of restricting the legitimate supply of migrant labour, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

John Philpott, CIPD chief economist, said: “Our research clearly shows that employers need a legitimate supply of migrant labour to combat UK skills shortages as they struggle to fill vacancies. This puts the heated political debate about immigration into perspective.

“Any further arbitrary tightening of the rules governing immigration could risk damaging business prosperity and government efforts to improve public services. The Government must continue to resist such pressure.

Data from the CIPD’s latest Quarterly HR Trends and Indicators Survey found that recruitment difficulties and skills shortages are sending employers overseas in their hunt for talent.

Findings show:

– More than half of all employers say professional vacancies (38 per cent) and skilled trade vacancies (14 per cent) have proved most difficult to fill over the summer

– Almost one in three employers is planning to recruit workers from overseas this autumn

– Among larger companies, this figure rises to 40 per cent

– The public sector is most likely to turn to migrant workers – 34 per cent of public sector employers are planning to do so, compared with 27 per cent in the private sector

– Three-quarters of employers are offering migrant workers permanent contracts, while less than 10 per cent are offering only short-term or seasonal contracts

– Professional skills and technical skills are the main attributes that employers are seeking from abroad.

Philpott added: “It is interesting to note that the majority of employers are using migrant labour to fill vacancies requiring professional and technical skills, and are offering permanent contracts – against a common perception of low-skill, low-paid and casual jobs for migrant workers.”

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