UK’s new immigration plans put business in a panic

Thursday 20th February 2020
Priti Patel

During the frantic Brexit debate,  one of the most prominent discussions evolved about the make up of the UK’s workforce. Ardent Brexiteers, including Nigel Farage, consistently came back to the theory that it was the EU’s freedom of movement policy that had led to unviable immigration figures that were threatening the jobs of indigenous Brits.

Inevitably those who campaigned to stay aligned to the continent quickly deemed this as blatant racism and set out to prove that much of UK industry would fail without workers from Europe.

Yesterday Home Secretary, Priti Patel(picture above), unveiled the government’s new immigration policy, to deliver on their election manifesto, and unsurprisingly, the current freedom of movement policy is about to be severely curtailed.

It appears that post-Brexit there is to be a points system for those seeking to work in the UK, which will be endorsed by issuing a visa.

Although it has been emphasised that those EU nationals already in employment, and resident, will not be affected, there will be serious barriers, especially to seasonal workers, in the future.

A hopeful immigrant’s case will only be accepted if the job they are applying for has a salary of at least £25,600 and  they are fluent in the English language.

It was widely acknowledged, during Brexit that without unskilled workers from the EU, the NHS, the care industry, hospitality and agriculture would be severely damaged and now it seems these facts will have to be faced.

With an ageing population, care workers are vital, as are construction workers for the housing crisis, and while Doctors and bricklayers would gain admission, although nursing auxiliaries and labourers would not.

Patel has always maintained that cheap EU workers have driven down wages for those who are unskilled, but although there may be some truth in this, the implication of a higher wage bill for those in both the public and private sector is economically catastrophic.

With a higher wage bill, bosses will either have to increase the price of their product or service or pare down the number of people they employ.

It is the government’s contention that  their policy will make the workforce more highly skilled in an era which is on the cusp of an environmentally-lead technological revolution. They will be adamant that they are delivering what the electorate wanted, but business has cited its fears that the result will be a depressed economic landscape.

This is now the time that an opposition party would be underlining the failure of the government to address these concerns, but with an 80-strong Tory majority, and no leader, Johnson and Patel are bullish about their plans.

Johnson has made a lot of short-term friends during his time at Number 10, but it seems that in a brief time he could make some very influential long-term enemies

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