According to a new report the government’s new plans for immigration will cost employers more than £1bn by 2025. Under this plan thousands of European workers will be required to secure a sponsored visa from their employers which will create a “bureaucratic headache” for businesses, according to analysis of the government’s Immigration White Paper by Global Future, a pro-freedom of movement thinktank.
Global Future, an independent think tank advocating “an open and vibrant Britain”, arguges the flagship proposals will also impose an £80m barrier to EU students, and the proposed “settled status scheme” post-Brexit “exactly mirrors the makings of last year’s Windrush scandal – but on a much larger scale”.
The analysis done on the report suggests that the proposed £30,000 salary threshold for skilled workers would “leave over 100,000 unfilled jobs in social care and nursing, and cause the total EU workforce to shrink by 2025 – making it very difficult for businesses to survive and expand”.
Fergus Peace, the report’s author, said: “The white paper includes some sensible measures, but overall it represents an unambiguous shift towards a more complex and burdensome immigration system that will damage our country’s prospects.
“First, the new visa system – with its £30,000 threshold for skilled workers – will put off workers the Government wants to attract and keep out many we desperately need, not least the low-paid workers who keep our social care sector on its feet.
“Requiring the Europeans who are allowed in to secure sponsored visas will create a £1bn bureaucratic headache for employers, including the NHS – siphoning hundreds of millions of pounds in visa fees out of cash-strapped hospitals and into the Home Office.” He also said the the settled status scheme would create “a recipe for thousands of EU migrants to fall into the hostile environment”.
Mr Peace added: “The government presents ending free movement as the great prize at the centre of its Brexit strategy. “But ultimately this white paper is a plan to close ourselves off from the world. That’s not something to celebrate – it’s a dreadful mistake.”
Reports have claimed that the system is struggling already and will find it hard to manage applications from more than three million EU nationals who are currently living in the UK. It adds: “Even if it works, the new system will leave EU citizens with one of six different kinds of status, creating serious risks of confusion and error in the Government’s hostile environment.”
Many business groups and MPs have slammed the proposals and have urged the government to avoid placing these additional costs on businesses after Brexit. The policies will be pensive and destructive for employers across the country.
The report states that the private sector will shoulder the burden of 70 per cent of the costs, totalling £805m over five years, while the public sector is expected to be hit with a £337m bill.
“London is far more dependent on an international workforce than the rest of the UK,” said Sean McKee, director of policy and public affairs at London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“Non-UK nationals form a quarter of the workforce, compared to one eighth for the rest of the UK.
“To ensure London remains globally competitive it is essential that the Government works with London’s business groups to understand the real-term impact of their proposals on businesses.
“A new system should seek to support and enable businesses, not hinder them.”
Edwin Morgan, interim director at the Institute of Directors, added: “The government must listen to employers as they develop their post-Brexit migration policy, making sure it doesn’t unnecessarily add add to the already mounting cost burdens companies face.”