Business leaders across the UK have urged the government to make it easier to hire staff from overseas – especially Canada, Australia and New Zealand – to address post-Brexit labour shortages in multiple industries.
At present, British companies who wish to bring in workers placed abroad must pay an “immigration skills charge” of £1,000 a year – a cost that many businesses have deemed unsustainable in today’s fragile economy.
Business leaders have also pushed for further mobility arrangements by expanding the numerous schemes which allows adults aged under 30 from Australia, Canada and New Zealand to live and work in the UK for up to two years.
Miles Celic, who is Chief Executive of TheCityUK, said multinational companies in the financial services sector would find a government plan focused on easing mobility rules “hugely reassuring” for the future of their operations in the UK.
Celic said restoring the ability to move staff in and out of London had been a priority for international banks, insurers and asset managers since Brexit.
“As an international financial capital, we need to be able to attract the best talent from around the world to stay competitive…it will be beneficial to the UK,” he said.
While former Primer Minister, Liz Truss, ordered a review of the UK visa system to tackle labour shortages, it is unclear how quickly this review will now progress under the new leadership of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. However, there is appetite within the governing conservative government to address ongoing labour shortages, and fill that void with skilled workers from Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
CANZUK International will continue to work with business and industry leaders in the coming months, and collaborate on avenues for citizens of Canada, Australia and New Zealand to obtain visas in the UK and pathways for permanent residency and citizenship.