Business leaders called for calm on today’s migration figures, saying the subject was much broader than just the issue of whether Britain stays in the EU. Seamus Nevin, Head of Employment and Skills at the Institute of Directors, said:
“The public is being very poorly served by the current level of the debate on immigration in this country. Let’s remember why people come here in the first place – because the UK is one of the best performing economies in Europe and businesses are creating lots of jobs. Employment is at a record high, and there are big skills gaps that employers cannot fill domestically. Despite the overblown rhetoric that today’s figures have sparked, the actual numbers have not changed much in the last year.
“It is important to take a step back and remind ourselves immigration is a much broader question than just the EU referendum. If Britain voted for Brexit, there would still be a big skills gap, especially in areas which require science, maths or engineering degrees, where we just don’t have enough UK graduates. Neither side of the referendum debate has adequately addressed the question of what the migration rules should look like after 23 June.
“It is clear we need a migration policy fit for the 21st Century. The IoD has called for a Comprehensive Immigration Review to allow for clear headed thinking on future migration policy and to examine this issue, in all its complexity, away from the separate issue that is the EU debate.”