ASI comments on new immigration system proposals
Daniel Pryor, Head of Programmes at the Adam Smith Institute, responded to the Government’s new plans for a post-Brexit immigration system
“The Government’s post-Brexit immigration proposals represent a welcome shift away from the economically illiterate approach that characterised the May era — but we should be honest, all attempts to end free movement of workers will reduce productivity and growth, and represent a step back to central planning of the economy by Whitehall.
“Salary is not synonymous with skill shortages. Lower, looser salary thresholds will help relieve some pressure on businesses: although ideally they should be scrapped. Quadrupling the seasonal agricultural work scheme will help British farmers and introducing a route for highly skilled workers without a job offer removes expensive, bureaucratic hassle that stands in the way of attracting top international talent.
“There are still major issues. Around 70% of EEA citizens who arrived in the UK since 2004 would likely be ineligible for the most common visas under the new system. These people have massively contributed to the economic and cultural life of the UK—and concerns about future skill shortages remain paramount. This is especially true for regions like Scotland that rely on EEA workers for key industries like health and social care. The Government embraces market forces when it comes to the free trade debate, but they're still struggling to extend that logic to immigration.”
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