The Immigration system needs fixing to access skills, say business leaders - The Leamington Observer

The Immigration system needs fixing to access skills, say business leaders

BUSINESS leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire say the immigration system needs fixing to help firms access the skills they need to grow.

According to new figures, net migration in the UK has hit a record high of 606,000 with a major increase in non-EU migration.

Work has been cited as one of the key reasons for the jump but Corin Crane, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said firms across the region are still reporting labour shortages.

He is calling on government to improve the system to make life easier for companies across a wide range of sectors to access overseas workers while home-grown talent can be trained up.

Corin said: “The latest net migration figures are high, but this doesn’t tell the whole story.

“The British Chambers of Commerce has done some great work that shows employers are struggling to fill job vacancies at all skill levels across the economy.

“As a network we speak to firms across our patch all the time and recruitment is probably the number one issue that is holding back business growth. Many have a strong order book, but simply can’t get the workforce they need, and migration has a part to play in solving that.

“Sectors such as farming, retail, hospitality, logistics and manufacturing are at crisis point with vacancies they are unable to fill. There are around a million job vacancies across the UK and, seemingly, not enough people who are economically active to fill those roles.

“We want a highly-skilled, highly-paid workforce and training up our residents and upskilling our existing workers is, of course, a priority and I’m sure our work on the Local Skills Improvement Plan will help to revolutionise the skills system.

“However, it is going to take time and our businesses need workers today. That is why we need an immigration system that works for business. It needs to be slick and affordable to use for employers to ensure they can be nimble when they need staff.”

He added: “If there are people with the right skills to support the growth of individual businesses and the wider economy then it is absolutely the right thing to do to be tapping into them.”


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