Employees on UK work permits 'essential'

07 Dec 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Employees from outside of the European Union who have valid UK work permits are "essential" for the vitality of London's economy.

This is according to a recent report from The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, entitled Migration Reform: Caps Don't Fit.

The paper questioned large and small companies throughout the capital and found that 63 per cent of all businesses and 59 per cent of the capital's smallest companies have either employed non-EU migrant workers within the past five years or have considered doing so.

It appears that a lack of skills from within the UK has been instrumental in prompting businesses to take on overseas employees on UK work permits.

In fact, 30 per cent of employers claimed to have looked further afield because domestic or EU candidates simply weren't available with the required skills. The same percentage claimed to have hired foreign staff because they offered better language skills than the native population.

Colin Stanbridge, chief executive of the chamber, stated that the report confirms that the government's steps to reduce net migration are making it harder for UK businesses to grow by stifling their access to talent.

He added: "The government must be aware that its reforms to the UK's migration system threaten to undermine two of its biggest promises to the business community: that the UK must be 'open for business' and that we must return to being an 'exporting nation'."

The survey also found that businesses are worried about the motivation behind the changes to UK immigration policy, with 76 per cent of the belief that the policy changes have been driven by political considerations rather than economic ones.