Tackle UK visa restrictions to boost growth, REC tells government

09 Apr 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has called on the government to take a fresh look at the restrictions imposed on UK visa access in order to help the economy grow.

Data from the group's latest Report on Jobs, conducted in collaboration with KPMG, revealed that the past month showed an increase in levels of payment received by permanent workers, alongside a notably sharper decline in candidate availability.

While the trend is resulting in some positive short-term benefits for employees, it could well be storing up problems for future economic growth if Britain does not have access to the skilled people it needs to help businesses grow.

Tom Hardy, the think tank's director of policy, remarked: “As well as up skilling UK workers, the government needs to take a joined up approach to immigration. A priority is addressing the restrictions on visas for highly skilled workers, which would allow businesses to access the people they need to grow and create jobs for more British workers.”

The current government stated when it first came to power that it aims to cut net migration to the “tens of thousands” before the next general election. As part of the efforts to reach this target, UK work permits are being restricted and more demanding financial barriers are being put in place on both work permits and spouse visas.

Suggestions put forward by the REC are backed up by the government's own Home Office report published last month. The report stating that there is “relatively little evidence” to suggest that immigration displaces UK workers when a the country has a buoyant economy.

Recent claims that around one in seven British businesses are founded by an immigrant are adding further weight to the calls for the government to reassess its approach to immigration.