British employers, through the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), want more migrants to fill the labour shortage. However, CBI chief executive Tony Danker states, “a more flexible approach to immigration is needed to help the economy grow.”
However, Migration Minister Robert Jenrick believes employers should look to the home market rather than attracting low-skilled workers from outside.
The United Kingdom has more than 1 million vacancies that are not filled. In addition, about 600,000 people are long-term sick, CBI has established, and will not soon return to the labour market. “That is why we are facing a major shortage of personnel,” says Danker.
According to him, we need to look beyond the borders to quickly compensate for several shortages before the labour market finds a balance in the medium term. The employers’ mouthpiece acknowledges that this represents a “tough political choice” for British Conservatives. He suggested that, for example, a work visa could be paid out for a certain period.
But the British government seem to be floundering with their plea. The British Minister for Migration noted a desire to reduce immigration. “That’s something significant to the British, and we stand by their side,” Jenrick said.
To fill vacancies, the industry must first and foremost look to the British home market, it was said. “One could improve the skills and train the British (…) There are still five million Britons who are not economically active, including half a million who have left the labour market during the corona pandemic. As a government, we are particularly concerned about them.”
British employers also called on Monday to quickly reach an agreement with Europe on the Northern Ireland protocol to boost economic growth. The Northern Ireland protocol is part of the Brexit agreement and grants special status to Northern Ireland. It is crucial for foreign trade, and according to the CBI, UK trade growth is now lagging behind other countries.