Sunday, 25 July 2010

Fortress UK?

The Conservative government has recently announced details of their plans to introduce an interim limit to avoid a flood of Tier 2 applicants prior to limits being introduced in April 2011 for non-EU economic migration.

This throws up a difficult and possibly worrying prospect of employers who require unique skill sets from staff but not being able to employ them due to some form of cap being placed on them in terms of how many certificates of sponsorship they can issue (if unfamiliar with the certificate system, please feel free to have some fun looking it up on the Border and Immigration website). The most pressing fear is the effect it could have on the wider economic recovery as opposed to niche industries/sectors, as reported by Channel 4 recently.

Any policies which rile against illegal immigration play out well in the court of public opinion during election campaigns– especially during leaner economic times, yet our former PM did fall foul of banging that drum a bit too hard.

Though head line grabbing how well thought out are such policies? Although only at a consultative stage, the information employers have been given is that there will be some form of reduction of the certificates they can issue, with the amount used in the previous 12 months being used as the means with which to calculate it.

This would be fine, if only recruitment and selection was so uniform. For example, does the government expect an employer to turn away a prospective employee who could transform their organisation for fear of going over their quota?

The danger might be that when we are making budget cuts for education and training, we are also limiting our access to the knowledge base from overseas – something which has not gone unnoticed in the scientific community as reported in People Management recently.

What would be your suggestion? I would worry that there might be danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, in doing so limiting employers opportunities to bring in highly qualified staff because recruitment has become so heavily politicised. John Philpott at the CIPD seemed to worry that might be the case – even before the shouting was over on the election result.
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