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Cost of labour is a “red herring” in immigration debate

11 Jun 2015

Responding to the Prime Minister’s comments on immigration reform, announced in Prime Minister’s Questions today, Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors said:

“Business cannot have a deaf ear to the public’s concerns on immigration. However, focusing on the supposedly lower cost of migrant labour is a red herring. Among the 50% of IoD members who hire from abroad, just 4% say that the cost of labour has anything to do with it. The fundamental concern is about finding people with the skills needed by employers. 

“Proposals to further increase the cost of visas is essentially a tax on employing people from abroad. This seems particularly odd given how dependent the UK economy is on international skills and expertise. The prime minister is absolutely right to focus on upskilling the domestic workforce, but there’s no quick fix and it could appear misguided to risk harming the economy today in the hope of seeing results a decade down the line.”


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