More immigration cap anger from small businesses

Fast-growing small businesses are the latest group to speak out against the immigration cap, saying the restrictions on hiring non-EU migrants are forcing them to turn away work because they are unable to hire the right people. The news follows twin criticisms of the cap last week from the prime minister's election speechwriter and the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee.

Fast-growing small businesses are the latest group to speak out against the immigration cap, saying the restrictions on hiring non-EU migrants are forcing them to turn away work because they are unable to hire the right people. The news follows twin criticisms of the cap last week from the prime minister’s election speechwriter and the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee.

It also follows renewed confusion over the impact of the cap, with immigration minister Damian Green coming unstuck on last Wednesday’s Newsnight over the effect of excluding intra-company transfers from the cap, which the Home Affairs Committee recommend including for the cap to work, and which some companies say will be of little help.

Kevin McSpadden, founder of data analysts More2, told today’s Telegraph:

“We have six recruitment agencies looking for people and have looked at 80 CVs. It’s totally slowing us down and giving me a backlog of business to the point where people are not willing to talk to you because you can’t take on work for four months. It’s definitely damaging my business.”

Adding:

“It’s not a deliberate policy to go out and find non-EU staff as it’s a pain to jump through the hoops. But we just need the best people…

“Everything I hear is the private sector is going to lead the growth. I am all up for that. The faster I can grow the faster I can help my clients grow, but I don’t need more things put in the way of that.”

Last Tuesday, in a column in the Standard, David Cameron’s former speechwriter Ian Birrell had written of the cap:

It was the sort of gesture politics that makes some sense in opposition but turns out to be nonsense in government. Ministers say they get endless complaints about the policy whenever they meet businesspeople.

It is unfortunate that the Liberal Democrats failed to use their bargaining powers to get it abandoned; they should have insisted it was scrapped in return for their humiliation over the proposed rise in university tuition fees.

Instead we are stuck with this daft idea, which has been grafted on to Labour’s similarly foolish points-based system of entry.

Next week, the Migration Advisory Committee will publish its report into the cap, looking at the level for 2011/12 of the annual limits on economic migration to the UK under Tier 1 and Tier 2 of the points-based system.

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