Does the UK need to change its immigration policy?

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iSAWcompany/Pixabay Nearly half of specialist doctors, two in five general practitioners and more than a quarter of nurses specializing in mental health were born outside the UK, according to the March 2021 census conducted by the UK Office for National Statistics. The industry with the highest proportion of non-UK workers (60.7%) is involved in the packaging and bottling of a wide range of products. These figures highlight the challenges facing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government as it struggles to deliver on its voter commitments to limit immigration while ensuring supplying the economy with workers. The UK has yet to regain pre-pandemic production levels, and the lack of workers is part of that problem. Staff shortages are most acute in the National Health Service, which is struggling to cope with an increasing workload while leaving workers for higher-paying jobs. Government wages have not kept up with the private sector, which has sparked strikes in the NHS, joined by ambulance drivers, teachers and railway workers. On Census day, there were 48.6 million people aged 16 in England and Wales and older. Of these, 80.9 percent were born in the UK – that’s 13 percent more than at the last census in 2011, before the UK voted to leave the European Union. Ministers are therefore increasingly being urged to rethink their immigration policy, which is “usually job-friendly and good for public finances”, said Paul Johnson , director of the Institute for Tax Studies, during a speech in parliament. He believes – as do economists at the Bank of England – that Brexit is holding back economic recovery in the UK. Promises to seal the UK border played a key role in the 2016 Brexit vote. offset by higher migration from other countries. This is one of the things that is keeping the UK economy stagnating. The Bank of England estimates that the domestic economy could grow by just 0.7% this year. without stimulating inflation. Sectors such as farming, cleaning, food preparation and refuse collection were most dependent on a labor force born outside the UK. As much as 31.2 percent. employees from the above-mentioned industries came from abroad. After the pandemic, hospitality and retail businesses in particular complained of staff shortages as EU workers left the UK. But it’s not just jobs seen as lower-skilled that rely on foreign-born workers. As much as 47.5 percent. British specialist doctors – oncologists and cardiologists come from abroad. The largest group – 26.3 percent. – was born in the Middle East, Asia and Africa (8.5%). One in four home care workers (particularly older people) also come from outside the UK, as do 18% of home care workers. people dealing with sales and customer service. In the aftermath of Brexit, the UK adopted a new points-based immigration system. This was set out in the Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto, which promised to “take back control of borders” and a “firmer and fairer” approach to migrants. Unless they qualify for immigration under specific other schemes, anyone who wants to work in the UK now must be offered a job by a government-approved employer and must score 70 on a checklist which includes criteria such as salary, education, and an opinion on whether the position is on the list of shortage occupations. This strategy was aimed at increasing employment among British citizens and increasing the national wealth. However, economists warn of the danger of imposing restrictions on a country whose own labor market is not yet qualified or motivated enough to fill vacancies. Bloomberg Economics has estimated that Brexit is costing the UK £100 billion a year, part of which is due to fewer workers coming to the UK than might otherwise be the case. Just last week, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was forced to add construction to the list of shortage occupations in the UK due to complaints from construction companies that cannot find workers quickly enough. In order to encourage people to take up employment in the industry, construction companies raised wages, which in turn increased costs. Companies in the service and manufacturing industries also complain of similar problems. Before Brexit, citizens of the European Union and the United Kingdom were free to live and work in any other EU country without the need for a work visa. However, this freedom of movement ended on 1 January 2021. By June 2022, net migration to the EU was -51,000. This means that more EU nationals left the UK than arrived. On the other hand, the net migration of non-EU nationals was +509,000. Tomasz Wieladek, chief economist for European investments at T. Rowe Price Group Inc said that the exodus of Europeans was partly due to “imperfect diplomatic efforts between the UK and the EU to resolve Brexit-related issues. In his opinion, the Windsor Framework (a legal agreement between the EU and Great Britain, announced in February this year) gives hope for the normalization of diplomatic relations between Great Britain and the EU, which may translate into a change in people’s attitudes to coming to the islands. Source: Bloomberg

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