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CBI joins tirade against immigrantion cap

To call on government to prioritise skilled workers.

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1st October 2010: Less than a month after the Business Secretary Vince Cable warned the government plans to cap non–EU Immigration could hamper the economic recovery, the Employers’ group CBI too has joined in the tirade.

Its assertion against the cap comes as the government is holding consultations on plans to introduce a permanent cap next spring, and has put a temporary limit in place until then. Home secretary Theresa May has already limited the number of non-EU migrant workers to 24,100 between now and April.

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.

The CBI plans to call on the government to prioritise skilled workers that have been offered a job. The employers group asserted that multi-national firms must be able to move their staff around freely using intra-company transfers (ICTs).

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.

An aide to Home Secretary Theresa May said that they understand they need to bring the best and brightest here, but they also have a policy to bring down overall net immigration, and that’s what they will do.

Cable was 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, had told the Financial Times that 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.

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