Britain 'lags behind rivals' in race to hire overseas talent

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Britain was warned yesterday that it is falling behind Germany and other European nations in the race to recruit foreign workers to fill shortages in specialist industries.

Britain was warned yesterday that it is falling behind Germany and other European nations in the race to recruit foreign workers to fill shortages in specialist industries.

The Labour MEP Claude Moraes said countries such as Germany and Italy had moved to relax their immigration rules to take in greater numbers of economic migrants with specialist skills.

Mr Moraes said: "Britain needs to look to its economic interests. Firms from Dusseldorf, Munich and Bonn are already heavily recruiting IT workers from Bangalore, which has become India's Silicon Valley."

The warning came as the Immigration minister, Barbara Roche, was preparing to unveil plans to make it easier for thousands of skilled overseas workers to migrate to Britain. The plans, first disclosed in The Independent in July, for migrant workers to plug job shortages in information technology, health and other specialist sectors are expected to be announced in a speech on Monday at the Institute for Public Policy Research.

In a speech in Paris three months ago, the minister told an audience of officials from 30 countries: "Throughout the centuries immigrants have had a very positive impact on thesocieties they join.

"We need to find ways to meet legitimate desires to migrate and be ready to think imaginatively about how migration can meet economic and social needs."

Since the 1971 Immigration Act banned primary immigration, the only people allowed to stay in Britain have been those joining relatives or spouses, or people taking up jobs for which they have work permits. Apart from a few exceptionally rich individuals who have been allowed to set up businesses, the only exceptions have been successful asylum claimants.

Mr Moraes said there should be no question of Britain introducing an "open door" immigration policy but pointed to research by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development showing that about one-quarter of Britain's population will be over the age of 65 by 2050.

Comments