Capping UK work permits 'a mad policy'

17 Oct 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Placing a cap on the number of UK work permits available to skilled overseas workers was a “mad policy”, a business leader has suggested.

Indian-born industrialist Lord Karan Bilimoria, founder of the Cobra Beer brand, expressed this view at the 30th annual charity dinner organised by the Shipley-based Aagrah Group. The event also marked the 35th anniversary of the business, which now boasts a total of 15 restaurants, as well as a new range of cooking sauces stocked by Tesco and Asda.

The independent Peer added that the UK immigration cap is likely to be particularly damaging to the Asian catering sector in Britain, which is already struggling to find the staff with the right skills and experience.

“An immigration cap is a mad idea. Restricting the supply of people from overseas would mean that industry would suffer and especially this industry (catering and Asian restaurants) which can't get the staff it needs,” observed Lord Bilimoria, adding that the idea is short-sighted.

The businessman also hit out at other UK immigration decisions taken by the government, the Bradford Telegraph and Argus reported, including the UK Border Agency's revocation of London Metropolitan University's licence to sponsor international students.

The move caused much controversy within the higher education sector, which showed concern that the decision would have a catastrophic impact on current students and discourage other overseas students from studying in the UK in the future.

Lord Bilimoria added a third cause for concern, noting that the decision could be damaging to the country's ability as a whole to attract future successful entrepreneurs and leaders; an accusation that has been levelled at the current government in a response to a number of its changes to its UK immigration policies.