Immigration strategy will aid UK skills gap

The home secretary’s proposed new measures on immigration have highlighted the importance of an effective managed migration policy for business and for the UK labour market.

As the representative body for the UK recruitment industry, we welcome any measures that will help address illegal working in the UK. The recruitment industry is playing an increasingly important frontline role in the fight against illegal working.

At the moment, a huge onus is placed on employers and recruitment agencies under section 8 of the Asylum & Immigration Act. And recent changes to the types of documents that need to be checked have created substantial additional bureaucracy for both HR and recruitment professionals. Any measures to alleviate some of this burden would be welcome.

Beyond the political rhetoric, it is important to recognise the potential benefits of managed migration, and to address the practical implications of any new measures for the UK labour market and for business.

According to the REC Report on Jobs, produced in conjunction with research firm NTC and Deloitte, demand for both skilled and unskilled workers has increased over the past 18 months.

Aligning immigration policy to skills shortages is something we welcome, but it is just as important not to overlook the need to fill unskilled positions. A flexible, but regulated, migration policy is essential to help fill the skills gap in the UK labour market.

Tom Hadley
Head of external affairs, REC

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