Manufacturers in the UK fashion space have advised that the industry could face a significant shortage of talent if the work permit UK rules aren't changed. During September 2018, the Migration Advisory Committee for the UK government recommended the creation of a new system for UK visas. The updated strategy would fold EU citizens into the same method used to support non-EU migrants in the UK.
The tier 2 work permit has a minimum salary requirement of £30,000 to begin following Brexit. However, as the manufacturing industry has pointed out, various skilled workers would not be able to earn that amount. This means that the immigration UK rules would prevent manufacturing companies from accessing overseas talent in the form of sample and production machinists. The All Party Parliamentary Group for fashion and Textiles recently held a meeting at the House of Parliament to discuss their issues with the UK work permit.
The committee said that the government should consider including skilled professionals in the garment sector in the shortage occupation list for UK Visas. Additionally, the group recommended that the UK government should consider lowering the threshold for the tier 2 work permit to £21,000. The committee is now working on putting their suggestions through to the government in the form of a petition letter. The manufacturing industry hopes to receive a response by the 31st of October before the country is set to leave the EU.
Although garment machinists are crucial and talented employees according to leaders in the manufacturing space, the government currently classes them as "unskilled" because of their salary. This could lead to severe issues with workers for UK garment creation. There's currently a severe lack of skilled staff in the sector, and this problem is set to get worse with the arrival of the new UK work permit rules following Brexit.