The important contribution of migrant workers to the British economy is being highlighted by the Association of Translation Companies (ATC).
ATC council member and the first female president of the British Chambers of Commerce, Dr Isabella Moore, said it was vital that people took a “step back” from the anti-immigration rhetoric coming from political parties and instead looked at the real picture.
She believes that if immigrant workers are refused UK visas, the business world and wider economy will suffer, because there are not enough British people with the language skills required by industry.
Dr Moore said: “Simply relying on our home-grown talent of language skills is no longer sufficient in accommodating the needs of foreign language skills to UK businesses.
“These skills are fundamental to increasing export potential and building the UK economy, yet we are facing a serious language skills shortage. This is an issue that costs an estimated three per cent of GDP per year and without support from migrants it is unlikely that we will be able to sustain our export sector.”
She argued that the UK is supplied with a “fantastic pool of foreign language talent” from around the world and that these skills are key in supporting small businesses seeking to expand into the export market. It is time, Dr Moore said, that the UK acknowledged how much it depends on skilled migrant workers. If it does not, she fears that UK international business ambitions will suffer.
The ATC, which will mark its 40th anniversary next year, has 170 members. It works with businesses, organisations and individuals seeking translation services.