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Concerns over shrinking international talent pool

by John Dunn | Jul 16, 2014
  • A recent study by the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford revealed that the government's immigration crackdown is effectively shrinking the international talent pool for British business.
    skyscrapers against the sky
    The study claims that the “best and brightest” are shying away from living and working in the UK, despite David Cameron’s insistence that his party’s attempts to reduce net migration allow the most highly skilled migrant workers into the country.

    Business Secretary Vince Cable described the findings as “deeply worrying”: “The net migration target, which was not government policy, has clearly had a damaging impact on UK plc by reducing the talent pool available to companies based here,” he said.

    “The harder we make it for international companies to employ the very best executives,” Cable added, “the harder it is to sell the UK as a place to do business and foster employment opportunities.”

    Key findings in the study:

    • The number of migrants from outside the EEA decreased by 39% from 2011 to 2013.
    • Overall, the number of highly-skilled migrants in the UK dropped 10% between 2011 and 2013. 
    Although researchers were unsure of the precise cause behind the changes in these immigration patterns, they did note government policies as a potential factor. Simon Walker, Director-General at the Institute of Directors, called it a “lose-lose situation”, saying that the decline in numbers of non-EU migrants and rise in skilled European migrants was “very much in contrast” to the government’s drive for productivity and competitiveness.

    Responding to the research, UK Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said it was “clearly nonsense” to suggest that Home Office policies were preventing companies from appointing the skilled workers they needed.

    “This report shows that UK companies have access to the labour market across the EU, which has a combined population of 500 million people, and can still recruit highly skilled migrants from outside the EU,” he said.

    Thousands of skilled worker visa applications are refused every year. Our immigration team will ensure that your application is successful the first time round. 

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