A new points-based migration system that will decide who can work in the UK could stifle the recruitment efforts of large companies and make it difficult for senior executives to operate in Britain for short periods.
The government hopes the US-style system will help to manage migration, with points awarded to potential candidates across a range of criteria, including aptitude, experience and age
The proposals would consolidate migrants into five key tiers: highly skilled people, skilled workers with a job offer, low-skilled workers in sectors with staff shortages, students, and youth mobility or temporary staff.
However, Caron Pope, an immigration expert at law firm Reed Smith, said employers would need to see far more detail added to the proposals, as the present draft is too ambiguous.
“Currently no provisions appear to be made for training and work experience for overseas nationals, something which is crucial to many UK based multinationals. It is unclear what the position of executives based abroad who need to work for short periods at regular intervals in the UK will be,” she explained.
She warned that many senior staff over the age of 32 may be excluded from working in the UK if they do not have a university degree – even though they may have years of relevant experience.
“While the government has shown its willingness to listen and consult, it must continue to do so and be prepared to show flexibility if the interests of business are not to suffer,” she added.
Tom Hadley, a director at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said that the system could cause problems for employers looking for low-skilled workers as the pool of candidates across Europe dries up.
“It’s important to address the implications of the new system and monitor the impact on lower-skilled vacancies. The assumption that most can be filled by workers from the EU is open to debate, especially now that other countries are opening their borders. The new Member States will continue to develop economically, and there will be less incentive for workers to seek employment in the UK,” he said.