New Brexit immigration rules could hurt UK firms, say employers

British firms are worried about losing access to skilled labour with new rules, a leading UK employers group said.

    Net migration by European Union citizens to Britain dropped to 48,000 in the 12 months to June, its lowest since the start of quarterly records in 2009, according to official data published last month [File: Simon Dawson/Reuters]
    Net migration by European Union citizens to Britain dropped to 48,000 in the 12 months to June, its lowest since the start of quarterly records in 2009, according to official data published last month [File: Simon Dawson/Reuters]

    The United Kindom's plans to introduce a new system for immigration after Brexit risk being too complicated and causing a shortage of skilled workers, a leading employers group said on Thursday.

    More than 70 percent of 304 businesses surveyed by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said reduced access to skilled workers was the biggest threat to the country's labour market.

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    More than half of the companies said they would be hurt if immigration policy was not simplified, according to the CBI's annual survey.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has proposed an Australian-style, points-based system for deciding who can come into the UK to work after Brexit with people of "exceptional talent" being fast-tracked into the country.

    "It's clear what's weighing on businesses minds is uncertainty about the new immigration system," CBI policy director Matthew Fell said. "Whatever the final shape, it needs to be simple from its first day of introduction."

    Net migration by European Union citizens to Britain dropped to 48,000 in the 12 months to June, its lowest since the start of quarterly records in 2009, according to official data published last month.

    The CBI said 65 percent of respondents in its survey believed UK's labour market had become a less attractive place in which to invest and do business over the past five years, the highest proportion since the survey began 22 years ago.

    The survey also found weaker hiring expectations than in 2017 and 2018.

    The CBI survey was conducted between August 27 and October 4. The 304 companies who took part, employ 830,000 people.

    SOURCE: Reuters news agency