While Prime Minister David Cameron cultivates new ‘special relationships’ and erases others forged by past leaders, a new tempest looms high in the immigration arena. The confrontation might become a very real threat to the rescue of the UK economy.
When Mr Cameron talked the talk of reducing immigration during his election campaign everyone cheered. But things are becoming less rosy since the coalition government introduced the policy of granting zero certificates of sponsorship to businesses that are engaged in sponsoring migrants.
The UK’s migrant driven economy and the issue of its survival sits uncomfortably with the government’s plans to cap visas within the tiers 1 and 2. Carrying “Business slams cap on skilled immigrants” as its front-page headline the Financial Times (FT) reported businesses having described the interim policy on sponsorship licenses as “insane”. This is because many companies “will not be allowed to hire any non-European staff for the rest of the financial year” the FT reported.
Lady Jo Valentine of London First who represents big business interests on the FTSE 100 described the steps as “economically insane”. Top international law firms such as Cameron McKenna who represent large international banks have expressed their clients’ view that restrictions on non-European workers would deprive the UK of investment because international banks would retaliate by moving offshore.
However, the immigration minister Damien Green has explained this away by saying that “businesses are going to have to reduce their reliance on migrant workers.” Surely it is up to the government to produce immigration policies which make the UK and attractive place to set up business.