Government to make highly skilled workers exempt from immigration cap

23 November 2010 #SMMT News

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has welcomed today’s announcement by home secretary Theresa May that from April 2011, the majority of highly skilled workers entering the UK under Intra-Company Transfer arrangements will be exempt from government’s proposed immigration cap.

This change in policy, called for by SMMT in September, sends a strong signal to potential investors about the UK’s positive business environment. It will also assist the rebalancing of the country’s economy, strengthening industry’s global leadership in low carbon technology development and production.
“Today’s announcement by government is welcome news for the UK automotive industry as highly skilled employees from across the world are essential to maintaining and improving our global productivity and competitiveness,” said SMMT chief executive, Paul Everitt. “The UK is already leading the way for low carbon technology and this latest decision will enhance the UK’s appeal as an investment location for international companies.”
In late September, SMMT called for intra-company transfers to be excluded from government’s migration limits, over concerns that capping the number of highly skilled migrants could negatively impact UK competitiveness and the re-balancing of the economy.
SMMT warned that limiting intra-company transfers through caps, lottery allocations or more stringent eligibility requirements could harm the operation of global companies, such as those represented in the UK automotive sector, where knowledge and skills transfer is essential in contributing to low carbon growth, and could diminish the attractiveness of the UK as a place to do business.
In July, the Home Office imposed a temporary limit on non-EU migrant workers, which caps workers to 24,100 from June 2010 to April 2011. Government then produced a consultation on how a permanent cap could be implemented, a move that SMMT lobbied to be adjusted to take account of highly skilled workers.

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