New Immigration Charges ‘Could Lead to Skills Gap’
New charges for workers outside of the European Economic Area could lead to a skills gap in the UK, a leading business group has warned.
The new charge, due to be introduced in April next year as part of the Immigration Act 2016, will mean businesses will have to pay £1,000 per employee per year, with a reduced rate of £364 for small or charitable organisations.
London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said less than a quarter of London businesses would be able to afford the new charge, according to a survey they carried out.
The LCCI said the move was aimed at encouraging more companies to train British staff to fill skilled worker positions but their survey found only 36 per cent of London businesses would be encouraged to train or hire British workers, instead of hiring non-EEA nationals.
Meanwhile, a third of businesses said they would need to cut costs elsewhere in order to pay the charge and employ workers on Tier 2 visas.
LCCI said 45 per cent of business decision makers felt the charge would lead to a skills gap in the business, if they have not been able to hire British workers or cut costs elsewhere.
Chief Executive of LCCI Colin Stanbridge said: “These charges will have a significant effect on businesses and may force some to cease trading either because they can no longer afford to or they can no longer find the skills.”