Government must reform UK immigration system, says report from TheCityUK

The Government urgently needs to reform the UK's immigration system to help Britain remain globally competitive beyond Brexit, according to a new report by TheCityUK and EY.

Miles Celic, Chief Executive Officer, TheCityUK,
Miles Celic, Chief Executive Officer, TheCityUK,

The report states that the UK must have access to skilled overseas talent to ensure it remains a leading international financial centre.

A spokesman for TheCityUK and EY said: “Global, outward-looking businesses need diverse expertise at many different skill levels.

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“The UK must have a robust and flexible immigration system for business which is fit for the whole economy and gives firms the ability to fill skilled roles efficiently, especially where there are shortages.

“Any future trade agreements with the EU, or other jurisdictions, can then be built on this foundation, offering further streamlined immigration routes between the UK and its trade partners.”

The report – ‘The UK’s future immigration system and access to talent’ – warns that following Brexit, the cost to firms bringing skilled European workers into the UK could increase by up to 300 per cent if existing immigration rules are applied unchanged to European citizens, and if planned Tier 2 visa fee increases come into effect.

Miles Celic, the chief executive of TheCityUK, said, “Britain’s success is built on openness.

“Being able to attract and retain the most talented people with the right skills, from both the UK and overseas, is a top priority for business leaders across the industry. The UK’s ability to draw global talent has long been a competitive advantage.

“Losing this could undermine Britain’s position as the world’s leading financial centre.

“A basic immigration system that is fit for the UK’s needs, future focused and fair is essential. Simply applying the current immigration system for non-European citizens to European citizens after Brexit will not work. Doing so is likely to worsen existing skills shortages and make it much harder to attract the talent British firms need to compete on the world stage following Brexit. ”

Margaret Burton, a partner, specialising in global immigration at EY, said, “As we approach Brexit, there is a real need to review and reform the UK’s immigration policy to ensure it supports businesses and skilled overseas talent looking to contribute to the UK economy.”