Immigration is an important part of any economy; it attracts talent, innovation, bridges skills gaps, expands contributions to taxes and diversifies cultures.
One of the most significant reasons behind the UK’s decision to leave the European Union was for the UK to regain control of immigration. However, the wider public in the UK is not anti-immigration. Instead they are for smarter immigration. BMG Research has recently indicated that the public is ready to accept either increasing the number of all types of skilled workers coming into the UK.
Brexit provides us with the opportunity to make Britain smarter and attract the best people and talent. The decision to leave the EU, means we can create our own rules. No longer tied to rules dictated to us by Brussels, we have an opportunity to design a future immigration system that works in the best interests of the country.
The Home Secretary Sajid Javid has already began the work towards a smarter Britain. He recently announced plans to remove overseas medical staff from the annual cap on skilled workers coming to the UK from Friday, currently limited to 20,700 “tier 2” visas per year.
Additionally, the new start-up visa, announced by the Home Secretary at the beginning of London Tech Week, will also be an important tool to attract wide levels of talent.
We must too however, be willing to look beyond the shores of the Continent. Technology in particular, is growing and burgeoning in hubs beyond Europe. This include the US and Israel and we must look towards innovators from these hubs as able to strengthen us in post-Brexit Britain.
Speaking at an event in Australia House in London this morning, the CEO of mining corporation Rio Tinto, Jean-Sebastien Jacques, said that the current rules for those beyond the shores of Europe must be relaxed if they are being appointed to a highly-skilled position. Rio Tinto, which has an HQ in London, mainly operates in the Asia-Pacific region and therefore attracts talent from Australia, New Zealand, China or South Africa within its ranks. Mr Jacques said he must be able to place these people into the HQ if they have the talent and the immigration laws must reflect this.
The UK must remain a hub for international talent. We must keep attracting the brightest and best migrants from around the world. And we must implement a new immigration system after we leave the EU that gives us control and works in all of our interests. We need to be less focussed on the European Union and more focussed on how we can attract talent from around the globe. Only a smarter immigration system with create a better Britain.