Increase in migrant workers not expected to have major impact on UK economy, experts say


Some industries will benefit from more migrant workers entering the UK, but experts said it was not expected to have a major impact on the economy.

This comes after Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng appeared to confirm media reports that immigration rules for migrant workers would be changed to address labor shortages.

Mr Kwarteng told the BBC on 25 September: The crux of the Brexit debate was that if we wanted to go there, we needed to manage immigration in a way that suited Britain.”

When asked if additional occupations would be added to the Short List of Occupations (SOL), Kwarteng said: [Suella Braverman] We will be issuing a statement in the coming weeks. But we have to grow this economy. ”

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UK Prime Minister Liz Truss and Treasurer Kwasi Kwarten visit Berkeley Modular in Northfleet, UK, 23 September 2022. (Dylan Martinez – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

skills and manpower shortage

Business groups such as the Confederation of British Industry and the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) have long called for changes to SOL.

Jane Gratton, BCC’s head of people policy, told The Epoch Times that companies are not fully operational due to labor shortages at all skill levels.

Refer to the latest information on BCC Quarterly recruitment prospect survey, Gratton said three out of four companies looking to hire had failed to fill vacancies during the first two quarters of the year. That means companies have to decline new orders and in some cases “work they have on the order form.

Gratton said companies don’t like to hire from abroad but have to do so because of “this severe domestic talent shortage”, requiring employers to be “just below level 3”. He gave an example of not being able to find people he could train to do the job. [qualifications]” refers to the eligibility to graduate from school.

Asked whether the increase in migrant workers would affect large and small businesses to different levels, Gratton said SMEs tend to lack the experience and resources to access the immigration system. said it welcomed cost reductions in the immigration system. Become a License Sponsor.

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The Job Center Plus logo is displayed outside the employment office in Trowbridge, England.
(Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Madeleine Sumption, director of the University of Oxford’s Migration Observatory, and Christian Niemitz, head of political economy at the Institute for Economic Problems, said they did not believe the relaxation of immigration rules would have a major impact on the economy. .

Niemietz said empirical evidence shows that liberal immigration systems have a “largely positive” impact on the economy, as they improve skill-job matching and generally increase GDP per capita. but the current system is “already quite liberal.”

point system

in a post-Brexit situation Points-based immigration policy Introduced by the government of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, EU citizens can no longer travel to the UK without a visa after 1 January 2021, but liberalized immigration policies for skilled non-EU workers .

The cap on the number of skilled non-EU migrant workers will be lifted, and applicants in some occupations may be granted visas at lower salaries than previously required, according to The Migration Observatory. .

Reintroduced post-study work visas, introduced in 2008 and discontinued in 2012, will save employers from having to advertise vacancies in the UK for at least four weeks before hiring from abroad, saving administrative costs. Now .

Near-zero economic impact

“So I don’t expect much of a difference,” said Niemietz. “But what is very difficult right now is the problem of less-skilled immigrants.

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A crane operator at seaside in Weston-super-Mare, England, 22nd September 2022. (Geoff Caddick/AFP via Getty Images)

Sumption told the Epoch Times that research suggests that highly skilled migrant workers who are already qualified under the current system tend to have the greatest economic impact, but media The report did not suggest that upcoming changes would include encouraging more skilled immigrants.

Regarding the increase in low-skilled migrant workers, “the historical evidence basically suggests that there are benefits for certain employers using these schemes, but no such macro impact.” may be close to: transitioning to low-wage jobs [are] “Not very big,” she said.

“Those industries can grow if they have workers available to do certain types of work,” Sumption said, adding that the size of certain industries “is limited for political reasons.” “It could be important,” he said, but from a purely macroeconomic perspective it would have little impact.

Sumption also highlighted other challenges related to SOL.

It often benefited the “loudest” lobbyists rather than where workers were “most needed economically.” Problems when it is difficult to change jobs because a visa is required.

net migration

Relaxing immigration rules is likely to meet resistance from some Conservatives and Brexit voters, with nearly half of them now facing one of the three problems facing the UK, according to a new survey. I believe it is one. YouGov Problem salience research.

Previous research has suggested that human values, rather than economic considerations, are stronger indicators of public attitudes toward immigration.

Eric Kaufman, a professor of political science at Birkbeck College, University of London, previously told the Epoch Times that unless the ruling Conservative Party starts cutting net immigration, there will be a lot of Brexit votes and a lot of red wall voters. , said he could lose in the next general election. He also “doesn’t show up.”

In an article published in 2019, Niemietz argued that concerns about immigration were “not really about overall numbers,” and argued that skilled immigrants and free immigrants between Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom He claimed that there was public support for the move.

Lily Zhou


Lily Zhou is an Ireland-based reporter focusing on UK news. Lily said she attended the Chinese edition of The Epoch Times for the first time before she focused on the UK in 2020.