Coventry’s Crucial Manufacturing Industry can still Depend on a Strong Migrant Workforce - The Leamington Observer

Coventry’s Crucial Manufacturing Industry can still Depend on a Strong Migrant Workforce

Leamington Editorial 6th Oct, 2023   0

You don’t need to look far to find articles and reports attesting to the delays and workforce issues presented by post-Brexit Britain. For decades, the crucial manufacturing industry hasrelied on a strong contingent of migrants, and in 2017, the West Midlands’ manufacturing workforce was reported to be 20 per cent migrant.

Of course, Coventry boasts a bustling migrant community and is key to the nation’s manufacturing industry. Back in 2011, about 12.8 per cent of the city’s residents held a nonBritish passport and a larger contingent of non-UK-born residents. Much like the rest of the region, Coventry relied heavily on non-EU and EU migrants prior to Brexit, but the count of 39,000 born in the EU will have thinned since what with the country facing a mass labour shortage.

Luckily, with the new landscape of getting workers and specialists mostly ironed out now, manufacturing companies in and around Coventry can begin to dip back into the EU workforce pool. Hopefully, the visas that are now available will help to build back from the hit taken by Britain leaving the European Union.

Making use of the new licences to bolster the workforce

Immigration and migrant workers have long forged a reliable and sustained segment of the workforce in the UK and arguably, the country wouldn’t have become the world power that it was without them. Now, many see the split from the EU as creating a wall between the UK and the oft-relied skilled EU workforce. While it is a little trickier, those who’ve re-crafted the employment process have put out a visa to permit overseas workers.

As is detailed by immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards, to become a sponsor and gain a sponsor licence, one of the critical requirements is suitable requirements, which means the business needs to showcase that it is reliable, honest, and dependable. This is achieved by having suitable HR systems, showing readiness for a UKVI compliance visit, and not having had a sponsorship licence revoked within the last 12 months. Usual licence and criminal compliance also apply.

If all of those boxes are ticked, a sponsor can only be used to address a genuine business need. There’s a “genuineness test” for this, which entails being able to offer jobs that meet the skill and salary of eligible roles, that the roles make sense for the business, and that all information concerning the roles and candidates for sponsorship is relayed to the Home Office.

Migrant workers still have a part to play

There was an uninformed line of thinking that Brexit would essentially detach the ‘native’ British from the rest of the world. Obviously, the country would collapse if this were the

case, and as relayed by a man who works with refugees in Coventry, migrants have made a lot of important contributions economically to the UK, and they’ll certainly continue to do so.

Once the cost of living crisis and inflation comes to heel, some manufacturing companies may begin to ramp up operations again. These processes will require expertise and a hefty workforce to fulfil.

Importantly for UK manufacturing as a whole, using visas like the sponsor licence can help businesses reconnect to the very valuable marketplace and smooth over some of the damage that was done and was perceived to have been done by Brexit. Make UK cited a large percentage of EU firms as seeing the UK’s image and trading relationships with the country as being damaged, but also that many in the rest of the world have been cautious about UK dealings.

Migrant workers have long been at the core of the UK’s manufacturing industry, and going this long way around via a sponsor licence could not only bring in highly-skilled and necessary workers, but also improve overseas relations.

Further reading:

Migrant worker says refugees bring richness to society – BBC News

Jaguar Land Rover announces plans to turn all vehicles electric by 2030 – Leamington Observer

This is a submitted article.


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