Migration Advisory Committee interim update echoes Ukie’s post-Brexit EEA migration concerns

The Migration Advisory Committee has today published an interim report collating the responses received following their October 2017 consultation. They have published the responses submitted by companies across the country across all sectors, from health, to manufacturing, to the creative and technology industries. We’re encouraged to see the MAC specifically acknowledge the importance of high-skilled EU and international talent to the games industry, as well as a recognition that through working alongside one another there is inevitably a knowledge exchange occurring between international employees and UK nationals in our sector.  We emphasised both these points in our reponse to the MAC

Among other things, the report highlights how the outcome of the EU Referendum is already influencing behaviour across UK industries and potential job candidates as UK businesses are are being perceived as less attractive places for EU citizens to work. This echoes the findings set out in our State of Play report last February that 60% of games businesses with more than 50 employees have already seen a negative impact on their ability to attract and retain talent.

Back in October, we submitted our own Ukie response to the MAC consultation. It highlighted our concerns around the impact of a reduction of EEA migrants on the competitiveness of the UK games industry. Crucially, it emphasised that the success of the UK’s games industry has relied on global talent for a number of reasons including:

  • Competing for talent globally: games are a truly global industry requiring local knowledge and understanding for international exports
  • Filling the digital skills gap in the short to medium term: the UK has the largest digital skills gap in Europe, in part resulting from the extent to which we punch above our weight as an industry
  • Employee diversity drives innovation and creativity in our sector

The MAC interim report published today demonstrates that the games industry is not alone in these concerns. Across the digital and creative industries especially, the responses are very alike, particularly pertaining to accessing global talent, and securing a stronger domestic talent pipeline. It is clear from many of these responses that in order to continue being a world leader in our sector and in the tech and creative industries more generally, we must be able to remain competitive and not have our productivity dampened by a sudden reduction in EEA migrant workers.

The UK games industry creates highly skilled, well paid jobs. We need an immigration system as modern and flexible as the jobs we’re creating, one which does not penalise small businesses or stem the growth of scaling ones. This new MAC publication demonstrates that these are common concerns across the UK. We keenly await a government response to this newly compiled body of evidence.

Read the response we submitted to the MAC last October here.