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The narrative on immigration is just as important as the rules

techUK comments on the Conservative Party’s plans for the UK’s post-Brexit immigration system.

The Conservative Party has announced a range of immigration manifesto pledges. Commenting on the announcement, techUK's Deputy CEO, Antony Walker said:

“Access to talent from aboard is vital to ensuring continued growth and prosperity for the UK economy. The tech industry, like many other sectors, is facing a chronic skills shortage. Part of the solution to that must be a smart immigration system that enables people with the skills we need to come to the UK whether for long-term or temporary work. But the system itself isn’t enough, we also need to make it clear that the UK is open and welcoming to people from around the world.  

“The key to building an effective post-Brexit immigration system that works for the whole economy is ensuring public trust and confidence. An Australian-style points-based system has been proposed to achieve this but there are many questions about how it would work in practice. Crucially it must be better than the current points-based system that already exists for Tier 2 Skilled Worker visas. That system is widely regarded as bureaucratic, costly and burdensome for both businesses and applicants. SMEs in particular would find it challenging if the new points-based system was based on this model. The forthcoming report from the Migration Advisory Committee needs to provide clarity on how a points system would differ from the existing Tier 2 route. The new approach must have significantly less friction to ensure that businesses can quickly access the talent they need.  

“Looking beyond the system itself, the next Government must ensure that people with the skills and talent that we need feel welcome in the UK. To keep the UK at the forefront of global innovation, we must ensure that the narrative around the country’s openness is as positive as the policies that underpin it.” 

techUK has previously published its asks of the post-Brexit immigration system – developing a set of proposals based on the principles that we believe are necessary to support the UK’s thriving tech sector and has responsed to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) call for evidence to advise on the future system of salary thresholds and points-based system.


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