Tackling Staff Shortages By Relaxing Brexit Immigration Rules, Says CBI | Confederation of British Industry (CBI)
The UK’s largest business lobby has called on the government to ease post-Brexit immigration rules to help businesses struggling with staff shortages hire more workers from overseas.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said the government should immediately update its “shortage occupations list” to include several areas where employers are struggling to recruit staff, including butchers, masons and welders.
Warning that there was a “perfect storm” of staff shortages as restrictions on Covid-19 were phased out, he said failure to take action would endanger the UK’s economic recovery after the pandemic.
The nation’s leading business lobby group, speaking on behalf of 190,000 businesses of all sizes and industries, has said employers need to take greater responsibility for addressing labor shortages by investing in the skills of the national workforce and trying a chance on job seekers who might otherwise be overlooked.
However, he said the government needs to urgently review its post-Brexit immigration policy to prevent chronic skills shortages from jeopardizing the UK’s economic recovery after Covid-19.
Pressure is mounting on carriers, hospitality venues and the food and beverage industry in particular, as companies scramble to hire staff as pandemic restrictions are relaxed and demand for goods and services returns . Logistics organizations have warned that refrigerated food will struggle to reach some stores this summer due to a lack of drivers and production workers.
The CBI said ministers must act on advice from the government advisory committee on migration released in September, which recommended that certain roles – including butchers, masons and welders – be added to the UK. list of jobs in short supply.
The list is an official register of skilled occupations for which there are not enough resident workers to fill vacancies. Under the government’s post-Brexit points-based immigration system, visa applicants in these roles get an additional 20 points towards the 70 points minimum required to work in the UK.
Pressure on companies to find staff comes after 1.3 million non-UK workers have left the United Kingdom since the end of 2019, because many have returned to their country of birth to see the pandemic at home.
Economists believe Covid travel controls, new Brexit immigration rules, lingering pandemic risks, and people reassessing their work priorities are contributing to labor shortages.
Some politicians believe the government’s leave scheme is having an impact, with nearly 2 million workers still temporarily absent from their jobs and receiving state wage supplements. However, others say companies could increase the wages they offer to attract new hires.
Karan Bilimoria, president of the CBI, said the immigration system needs to be updated to reflect labor shortages. “Where there are clear and proven labor shortages, companies should be able to hire from overseas. An evolving list of shortage occupations could be useful.
“But it’s really important to stress: Foreign workers are not, and should not be, our only answer to labor shortages. Here, too, investing in skills is vital. Neither is a choice. We need to do both to make sure our businesses have access to the people they need to be successful. “
A government spokesperson said: “Employers should invest in our domestic workforce instead of depending on foreign labor.
“We have implemented an unprecedented set of measures to support businesses during the pandemic and our Jobs Plan is helping people across the country retrain, learn new skills and return to work. We are also working with industries to better promote employment, training and a whole range of other initiatives.
“The government has carefully considered the findings and recommendations of the Migration Advisory Committee on the shortage trades list, but decided not to make large-scale changes while we monitor the new skilled worker route and assess how the UK labor market is growing and recovering after the pandemic. ”