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BIFM welcomes Committee recommendation for a consensual migration policy to be linked to domestic skills strategy

29-01-18 10:29 BIFM

BIFM welcomes the report published by the Common’s Home Affairs Committee earlier this month.  The report, which focuses on how to build broad societal consensus for a future immigration policy, makes several recommendations for ensuring that the UK’s future immigration policy follows that approach.

BIFM contributed to the Committee’s call for evidence in the autumn and is pleased to see many of its proposals included in the final report. The Institute especially welcomes the recommendation that government policy on ‘immigration for work’ is linked to strategies for improved investment in domestic skills and training, with the aim of reducing dependency on migrant labour.

Linda Hausmanis, BIFM CEO said: “As a sector employing around 10% of the UK workforce, of which up to 24% are EEA nationals, we have an important role to play in two areas.  Firstly, the Institute should support the idea of an open and honest debate toward a consensus-based immigration policy. The Spring edition of our FM labour market research report, will be very timely.

“Secondly, the Institute welcomes the Committee’s recommendation to link immigration policy with strategies for investment in domestic skills and training.  A migration policy established on its own will never deliver societal consensus.  The recommended approach requires no new commitments on training investment, but that the instruments in place are implemented and sufficiently funded to meet employer needs.

“The apprenticeship programme, for example, has real potential to reduce the skills gap for our sector, but so far its implementation does not meet its objectives. With current Apprenticeship Levy allocations insufficient to deliver effective training, BIFM’s “Fix the Levy” campaign is calling for a fairer share of funding for FM apprenticeships to help close the existing skills gap and so reduce dependency on migrant labour.”

BIFM next steps

Following the new year re-shuffle, BIFM will engage with the new immigration minister to outline its position and recommendations for the future.  BIFM looks forward to the forthcoming Migration White Paper and will participate in the ensuing debate.

BIFM’s position paper on migration can be found here.  The Home Affairs Committee report on Immigration policy: basis for building consensus can be found here, BIFM’s submission is embedded in the Published Written Evidence section of the report.

Get Involved

If you want to participate in BIFM’s campaign to #fixthelevy, please download the toolkit here.  It contains draft letters to your constituency MP and the Chair of the Education Select Committee in Parliament, along with a position paper on the implementation of the Levy to date.

The Home Affairs Committee Report recommends:

  • Immigration plans should be linked with training plans to increase domestic skills in sectors and regions where there are skills gaps that need to be filled through migration.
  • For skilled jobs where there are shortages or high levels of recruitment from abroad, there should be a joint plan on skills and migration set out in the Annual Migration Plan.
  • An Annual Migration Report setting out a three-year, rolling plan for migration – with the explicit objective of building consensus and involving extensive public consultation. This would detail migration flows, the Government’s controls and targets, the economic contribution from migration, measures taken to manage impacts and pressures, and action on skills gaps in the short term alongside a clear vision of and commitment to investment to increase domestic training and skills in sectors and regions where this is needed.
  • The Annual Migration Report to be informed by a stronger and more independent Migration Advisory Committee in the way that the Office for Budgetary Responsibility informs the Budget – enhancing transparency and accountability with independent, evidence-based analysis.
  • Replacing the net migration target with an evidence-based framework for different types of immigration that takes into account the UK’s needs. There should be no national target to restrict the numbers of students coming to the UK, and at a minimum the Government should immediately remove students from the current net migration target.
  • An immigration system which treats different skills differently. There is clear public support for the continued arrival of high-skilled (not just highly paid) workers who are needed in the economy. Immigration rules should allow UK businesses and organisations easily to attract top talent, with restrictions and controls focused more on low-skilled migration.  The Committee does acknowledge that the definitions around high- and low-skilled are not well understood.
  • Clearer and simpler immigration rules, underpinned by principles and values – including the contributory principle, supporting family life and safeguarding security.
  • A greater focus on early enforcement, clearer criminal and security checks, and improved Home Office performance to tackle errors and delays and reassure the public that the system is both fair and under control.
  • Stronger action to prevent undercutting and exploitation of workers from overseas, including strengthening the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) and expanding its remit.
  • An assessment of the positive benefits and negative pressures of immigration on public services, leading to additional funding for local authorities with higher levels of migration.
  • A national integration strategy and local authority led local integration strategies.
  • No diminution of the UK’s approach to international humanitarian obligations, upholding the principle of asylum and honouring existing commitments. Following on from the well supported Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, a permanent resettlement scheme should be established.

An overhaul of evidence and data, with a rolling commission for the Migration Advisory Committee, the recording of all entry and exit information, analyses of migration flows by local areas, and an annual estimate of the number of people who have breached the rules in that year to remain in the UK.

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