The coalition government’s plans to restrict the number of non-EU workers allowed into the UK has worried many British companies and could potentially cost the UK thousands of jobs.
The government announced plans to limit the number of non-EU workers and have since issued quotas on work permits issued to each organization, which is based on the number of staff that it recruited in the previous year, 2009.
This employer’s feel this will have a negative effect on their business as they are not able to recruit the staff that they need in order to stay productive a profitable
Vince Cable, Business Secretary said that the caps on immigration, are forcing companies to relocate overseas and that “a lot of damage is being done to British industry.”
“I am not known as the best friend of investment bankers, but they are quite an important source of economic activity,” he said.
“I was talking to people in the City and there were two investment banks that recruit hundreds of people from the non-EU area, Indians and Americans.
“They were allowed only 30 to 40 [visas]. They have moved some operations to Hong Kong.”
The business secretary said that he supported plans for a permanent immigration cap but that he wanted to see it applied flexibly.
He claimed that companies are unhappy with the way border officials have calculated how many work permits each company should have, many companies had recruitment freezes last year, which have now been lifted.
Cable would not name the companies he had spoken to but said that complaints had come from investment banking, engineering and pharmaceuticals.
In one instance, he said, a UK company that needed 500 specialist engineers was given a quota of four.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that he was aware of Cable’s concerns but added: “I don’t think there is evidence it is doing huge damage to the economy.”