Meeting on cards with GlaxoSmithKline, Tesco, General Electric 7th October 2010: Just about a month after Business Secretary Vince Cable warned government plans to cap non–EU Immigration could hamper economic recovery, reports are trickling in that he has agreed to hold urgent talks with some of Britain’s bluechip organisations.
The firms include GlaxoSmithKline, Tesco and Unilever, General Electric and Honda.
The development is significant as the employers’ group CBI, along with businesses, political figureheads, banks and even law firms have been mounting pressure on the government against the cap.
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.
Immigration Minister Damian Green has, on the other hand, hit back at the industry for blaming the interim limit for recruitment difficulties. The Minister has asserted factors such as an organisation’s own training policies, corporate reputation and pay affected its ability to fill up the vacancies; and it was unfair to blame the limits for this.
Green asserted: ‘The ability of employers to fill vacancies is affected by a wide range of factors, including their own training policies, pay and conditions and corporate reputation. In the vast majority of cases it is unfair to blame our limits for recruitment difficulties.
He was defending the government’s decision to introduce an interim limit on skilled workers from outside the EU, in response to concerns raised by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
Green, said: ‘The interim limit was introduced to stop a rush of last minute applications ahead of the annual limit being introduced in April next year and the UK Border Agency has been working very closely with businesses to ensure that these arrangements have been implemented effectively.
‘There are millions of people in Britain who employers can freely recruit and I expect companies to look to fill job vacancies from the resident labour force before they look for skills outside the UK.