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Expert comment: Skills-based immigration system could create huge shortage of workers

Posted by Warwick Business School at 19 February 2020, 16:58 CET |
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Commenting on the Government's plans for a skills-based immigration system, Jimmy Donaghey, Professor of International Human Resource Management at Warwick Business School, said:

"A skills-based immigration system for EU workers goes against the entire thrust of UK labour market policy for the last 45 years. Even since the Referendum the UK economy has continued to rely on migrant labour.

"Tougher restrictions on entry to the UK could create a huge shortage of unskilled and semi-skilled workers, who do not earn the required income levels.

"It is hard to see how radically scaling back immigration would not lead to severe labour shortages, particularly in the retail, restaurant, and hotel sectors.

"The South East is likely to be the hardest hit, as nearly 40 per cent of immigrants now live in the capital, but many available workers are concentrated in economically depressed parts of northern England, Scotland, and Wales.

"There are huge barriers to those low skilled, low paid workers relocating to the South East, particularly the prohibitively high cost of buying or renting properties."

Professor Donaghey is associate editor of the Human Resource Management Journal, has guest edited special issues of several other leading journals, and is a member of the British Journal of Management Editorial Board.

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