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Automotive industry moves against immigration cap

`It will undermine UK’s role in increasingly global economy’


24th September 2010:
The pressure against immigration cap is mounting on the government, apparently. After political figureheads, law firms, and shipping industry in the UK, the automotive industry has slammed the proposed move to place a cap on the number of immigrants entering the country.

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It became the latest sector to speak up against the government plans, when chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Paul Everitt wrote a letter to the UK immigration minister Damian Green.

Already, top industry executives have raised their voice against the cap by asserting the UK’s sturdy position in the global fund management industry was under threat due to the immigration policy. Engineering giant General Electric too has lent its voice to the tirade.

Everitt’s letter says the plans to cap skilled immigration to the UK will "undermine the UK’s role in an increasingly global economy". Everitt said the industry was predominantly concerned about the fact that internal company transfers of staff from outside the EU to work in the UK would be limited under the plans.

Everitt said: "Highly skilled employees transferred to work within the UK automotive industry are essential to maintaining and improving our global productivity and competitiveness.

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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