Cameron hints at softer immigration cap

Tells CBI will not impede businesses from brining best overseas talent
26th October 2010: Faced from pressure from all sides on the issue of immigration cap, Prime David Cameron signaled the government would let businesses bring in more staff from overseas.
The assertion before business leaders is being seen as a hint from Cameron’s side that the government is considering a softer migrant cap; and the Tories are eventually toning down their tough stance to pacify the Liberal Democrats.

Cameron made clear that planned immigration cap would not ‘impede’ companies recruiting skilled foreign staff.

In his first speech to the CBI as Prime Minister, Cameron said: “Let me give you this assurance – as we control our borders and bring immigration to a manageable level, we will not impede you from attracting the best talent from around the world.”

Cameron told the CBI conference in London: ‘As we control our borders and bring immigration to a manageable level, we will not impede you from attracting the best talent from around the world.’

Reacting to the developments, Downing Street officials clarified there was ‘no change’ in the Government’s stand

The development is significant as Business Secretary Vince Cable only recently warned government plans to cap non–EU Immigration could hamper economic recovery.

Cable is leading the fight against the policy in cabinet, and has warned that the cap could “damage” the company, a claim contested by Downing Street and the Home Office.
Cable has been quoted as saying immigration limits were costing Britain thousands of jobs and harming its economic recovery.

Cable, who believes the cap would certainly harm trade links, has also been asserting a lot of damage was being done to British industry; and companies were moving jobs overseas in answer to immigration caps as they are unable to hire key staff.

The Employers’ group, CBI, too had joined tirade against immigration cap. John Cridland, CBI Deputy Director General, said the system was proving a real headache for firms trying to keep on valued members of staff, or recruit specialists from overseas.

He added these problems were undermining confidence that the permanent cap would work. The migration system must support, not hamper growth, asserted Cridland.

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne too has aired his views against the annual cap, while the Law Society has reiterated that the proposed limits on non-EU highly skilled migration could damage the legal sector.

In a submission to the Home Office, the Law Society warned the proposals threatened the UK’s position as a prominent legal centre.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg too has dismissed plans of introducing a cap on non-EU immigrants by asserting people want a generous immigration system.
Shadow home secretary Alan Johnson too only recently lashed out at the government for its move to bring about immigration cap.

Johnson said the government’s recently announced ‘cap’ would affect less than a third of 1 per cent of those coming to “our shores.

As of now the Government is gearing up to implement the cap on the number of immigrants. It is insisting highly-paid professionals would not be affected by the ceiling.

Johnson insisted the points-based system “works” and the government “is foolish to pretend they can improve its effectiveness with an arbitrary cap."

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development also believes the sharp decline in the number of work-related visas showed the points-based system was "robust and working".

A further cap on net immigration would only leave many employers facing significant skills gap.

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