And now, General Electric lashes out at immigration policy

Move to damage Britain’s competitiveness: engineering giant

20th September 2010: Just about three days after top industry executives said the UK’s sturdy position in the global fund management industry was under threat due to the immigration policy of imposing a cap, engineering giant General Electric has joined in.

mechanic_worker_small.png Lashing out at the government on its immigration policy, has alleged it is facing recruitment problems because of it.

Into manufacturing jet engines, gas turbines, heavy industrial equipment and other stuff, the group said it had so far been unable to recruit a stem cell research executive from India. The cap had also prevented it from hiring turbine engineers from outside the European Union.

Asserting the move could damage Britain’s competitiveness and make it less attractive in investment terms, GE’s national executive for north Europe Mark Elborne claimed they had been given a small quota of people it could recruit from outside the EU.

They said it would receive a direct hit from government plans to curb immigration, and higher tax, along with competition from rival financial centres.

Only recently, top executives speaking at the Financial Services Authority conference in London said the cap could see talented traders exit Britain and firms shift operations to lower-cost countries with lighter regulations.

Chief executive of funds industry body the Investment Management Association (IMA) Dick Saunders said the traffic lights were flashing red on tax and rhetoric around immigration.

Law Society chief executive Desmond Hudson has already said just when they were pulling themselves out of a crippling recession, imposing the cap now would strangle City law firms and in turn hit the businesses they act for.

By imposing a cap, there was a mistaken assumption that there would be lawyers of equal expertise in the UK and EU. But it was often the knowledge of a particular overseas jurisdiction which was of value to a firm."

Bringing to the fore the risks of severing links with the world’s largest economies, including China and India, the Law Society argued that migrant lawyers were making a significant contribution to the UK economy.

Baker & McKenzie business immigration specialist lawyer Tony Haque said the Government made an election promise to reduce immigration and, while business immigration was not the main problem, it was focusing on this area because it was easiest to reduce.


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