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Less Red Tape, More Red Carpet
by Kerry Hallard, CEO,National Outsourcing Association
Thursday, April 24, 2014

Migrants Can Be Heroes of Sustained Economic Recovery and Should Be Welcomed

Michael Bloomberg’s comments about immigration are the voice of reason and sanity, counterbalancing the hysterical “And Whose Jobs Are They After?” poster campaigns produced by the radical right. The former New York Mayor told the Financial Times: “We definitely need immigrants and that’s exactly true of London and the whole of the UK in particular.”

He also said:  “It requires a special kind of person to emigrate. Immigrants are pre-selected to be people who will contribute to society, look at the glass as half-full and see the good thing about a place.”

These are exactly the sorts of qualities we should be focusing on, the sort that create jobs, not take them. Caps on highly skilled immigration should be abolished, allowing UK companies access to the best talent the globe has to offer. The majority of people (2 in 3) do not have a problem with skilled migrants. Even Nigel Farage concedes he would let a few of them in, but of course, he stops short of saying that these people might well bring some jobs with them.

In a previous blog, I stated how Ernst and Young is currently working on deals to re-headquarter 60 major international firms to the UK, which should create 5,000 jobs between them. Some of these people will be immigrants, some will not. It’s a net gain for job creation that you can bet your bottom € wouldn’t happen if we weren’t encouraging people to set up shop in the UK. Visas for anyone involved in, or even thinking about doing business in the UK, should be readily available: quick, simple and easy.   

Same goes for UK companies re-shoring. Any red tape wrapped around that needs to go, because most people would like to see more work come back, but caps on immigration and visa issues could hamper effective handovers and stymy the chances of success. 

All calculations on the net gains through immigration are crude, and most flawed in some way, especially given that the Border Control system cannot legally track the ins, outs and intentions of EEA citizens.  But the general statistic consensus echoes the sentiment of Mayor Bloomberg, that immigrants generally pay more into the system than they take out and should therefore be welcomed with open arms.

Infrastructure issues such as availability of homes and hospital beds are the ones that make immigration such an emotive topic and political battleground. But these could be assuaged by more high bracket taxpayers, more skilled professionals and more entrepreneurs bringing their big ideas to Britain. People who bring skills, set up businesses, pay taxes, create jobs and grow the public purse - we need more of these people, not just to be pillars of the community, but pillars of sustained economic recovery. 

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