//17/09/2015 Should Skilled Migrants be Welcomed in the UK to Plug Skills Gaps?
Charlie Walker, Vivid Resourcing MD, speaks to Recruiter about welcoming skilled migrants to the UK.
In the same week Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans to limit EU migration to the UK were scuppered by the European Court of Justice, business leaders and recruiters have called on authorities to welcome migrants to plug skills gaps.
The Financial Times reported yesterday the court largely upheld Britain and Germany’s efforts to clamp down on benefit tourism, including restrictions on some benefits given to unemployed EU migrants.
But it warned it would be illegal for governments to expel legitimate jobseekers. Cameron had wanted to restrict the amount of time an EU jobseeker could stay in the UK, regardless of whether they had a legitimate chance of finding work, to six months.
Recruiters, it seems, agree with the business leaders that it should be made easier for businesses to offer jobs to skilled migrants.
Charlie Walker, founder and managing director of global recruiter Vivid Resourcing, told Recruiter the government should look to the practices of the Netherlands and Belgium and not “leave the door wide open” for non-EU migrants “but those who have skills where there is a labour shortage should be admitted with less delays and red tape”. On EU migrants, he said the UK benefitted from the free movement of labour, pointing out that Britons also work abroad.
He added the government had a moral obligation to help refugees by ensuring “an efficient route to paid work”.
However, Gemma Saunders, associate director HR services at Gleeson Recruitment Group, told Recruiter if EU migrants were in the UK to plug a particular skills gap, they should be able to find work within six months.
“If not, it would sound like their skills are not in high demand or in deficit among the current UK workforce.”
She added recruiters needed to work with government to identify skills gaps before it hits a crisis point like the NHS is currently facing.
In the Financial Times report, Guy Hands, who heads private equity group Terra Firma, said businesses accepting refugees and other migrants with in-demand skills would be of huge economic benefit to the UK.
Peter Reichwald, director of the board practice and founder of inclusion network Engage at Harvey Nash Executive Search, agreed: “The granting of visas should be made easier subject to there being demonstrable evidence that that skill set has not been found within the UK or we will be hindering businesses growth because of their ability to find a skilled workforce.”