Immigration policy must meet needs of employers

The emerging debate about immigration policy must take into account the needs of employers struggling to deal with the consequences of a tight labour market, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The Conservative Party announced yesterday (24 January) that it would set an annual limit on immigration and a quota for asylum seekers if it won at the next general election.

CIPD research shows high levels of recruitment from abroad, with employers using migrant labour to cover shortages of professional skills as well as filling low skill vacancies at a time of very low unemployment in the UK.

John Philpott, CIPD chief economist, said: “Immigration needs to be managed in a way that meets the needs of employers without compromising the wider interests of society by putting excess strain on housing, the environment and other social and economic infrastructure.

“Very careful scrutiny would need to be given to any proposal that included any form of arbitrary formal quota on migrant workers,” he said.

Michael Howard, leader of the Conservatives, said its plans would:

  • Set an annual limit to immigration, including a quota for asylum seekers.

  • Put in place 24-hour security at ports to prevent illegal immigration.

  • Introduce an Australian-style points system for work permits – giving priority to people with the skills Britain needs.

  • Tighten the immigration rules to stop bogus marriages.

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