Immigration caps, idiocy, and highly skilled workers

Sometimes the sheer stupidity of the political class and the ignorance of the media combines to stoke the anger and frustration of people for whom common sense and intelligence are standard qualities, not optional extras. Here we have the moronic Conservative – Liberal Democrat coalition government wanting to appear tough on immigration. But in so doing demonstating their complete lack of suitability to govern, because the rules they have in place fuel unnecessary speculative migration of people without job offers and restrict the migration of people actually sought by employers.

The Observer reports this morning that big businesses are welcoming news from the government that some transfers of highly skilled workers will be excluded from immigration caps:

Just 50 people. That’s how many foreign workers PricewaterhouseCoopers, which employs 18,000 UK staff, will be allowed to bring into Britain this year. And the accountancy firm is not happy.

PwC is not alone. Across the UK, banks, law firms, carmakers and industrial companies have been agitating vigorously about the coalition’s draconian crackdown on the immigration of highly skilled staff.

This week, they thought they glimpsed a chink of light. The home secretary, Theresa May, announced on Friday that certain international transfers of existing employees within companies will be excluded from quotas placed on the number of overseas hires for big businesses. But the Observer has learned that this exemption on “intra-company” visas is likely to be tightly limited…

The government is restricting intra-company staff transfers into the UK and capping the number of migrants companies can offer jobs to under the points-based system Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) criteria, yet continuing to operate the Tier 1 (General) criteria where migrants do not need to have a job offer (only to hold particular qualifications or job titles) to be granted a visa. This is why we see highly skilled workers coming here (or remaining here from the previous Highly Skilled Migrant programme) without a skilled job or income and taking up menial work such as fruit and vegetable picking, waiting at tables and office cleaning.

Migrants coming to the UK under Tier 1 of the points-based system reduce the number of people that can come here under Tier 2 – yet Tier 2 migrants are the very people companies have identified as being beneficial to their operations and adding value to their business. Nowhere in the Observer piece is there any mention of this. Nor is there any mention of the impact this has when unskilled workers from acrosss the EU come here without restriction and find themselves competing not only with British nationals but with Tier 1 highly skilled migrants for casual work.

Not only have we lost control of our borders thanks to EU membership, our government is actually stoking the problem of migrants coming here without any job arrangements by maintaining Tier 1 of the points based system, which results in an oversupply in the labour market. Now let the coalition say again they are serious about reducing immigration. Their claim is fallacious. Thus are we ill served.

3 Responses to “Immigration caps, idiocy, and highly skilled workers”


  1. 1 BJ 07/11/2010 at 1:18 pm

    I don’t quite know where you are going with this one, AM.

    Surely it’s the government’s duty to encourage companies to establish themselves in Britain and then train the indigenous population to fit the jobs created.

    Why are we always looking abroad for IT workers when it seems that every child and his dog are computer whizzes these days.

  2. 2 Autonomous Mind 07/11/2010 at 1:49 pm

    I’ll give you an example. The company I work for was rolling out SAP in a programme taking around two years. There were not enough people with the knowledge to do the necessary work and contractors from India had to be brought in. At the end of the programme their visas expired and they went back home.

    If this programme was starting today the company would have to bring them in on Type 2 – which is being restricted – and might therefore not have the resources needed to complete the work. However the government will happily let other people come here without a job to go to and clog up the labour market because there is no call for the skills they are bringing.

    A sensible immigration policy should be based on business needs, but at this time it isn’t. In respect of your observation about computer whizzes here, there are plenty who can operate machines and use applications, but too few who can create the applications and develop technology.

  3. 3 jameshigham 07/11/2010 at 3:04 pm

    That’s the whole point, AM and I agree. There is no discernment on the types of migrants – only a blanket “migrants = bad’ mentality.


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