Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

CIPD responds to latest UK migration figures

Ben Willmott, head of public policy for the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, says the Government needs to continue to refine the points-based immigration system and reform skills policy to help address labour and skills shortages:

On migration figures and immigration policy:

“When looking at today’s migration figures, it’s important to recognise only a relatively small proportion of migrants are coming to the UK to work.

“It’s essential the UK’s immigration system succeeds in its aim of enabling employers to bring in migrant workers for skilled roles which are otherwise hard to fill. However, just 15% of typically larger employers have sponsored migrant workers since January 2021. This suggests policymakers should continue to refine the system to make it as flexible and user-friendly as possible, for example by extending the Youth Mobility Scheme to EU nationals.”

On skills policy and industrial strategy:

“If the Government really wants to address skills shortages and support the employment and training of UK-born workers, it needs to work more closely with employers to reform failing areas of skills policy such as the Apprenticeship Levy.

“We need urgent action to reverse the falling number of apprenticeships going to young people in recent years and more funding and innovative thinking are needed to ensure that the Government’s plans to reform further education are a success.

“There is also the need for wider reform of skills and other areas of policy such as innovation, business support, Statutory Sick Pay and labour market enforcement as part of the development of a new approach to industrial strategy. One that can boost labour market participation, training and productivity growth across all sectors of the economy.”

Earlier this week, the CIPD launched a new report “Migrant workers and skills shortages in the UK: Role of immigration in tackling post-Brexit skills challenges”